About the Zoning Board of Appeals

The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) as a quasi-judicial body charged under the provisions of Chapter 40A of the Massachusetts General Laws. The ZBA is the Special Permit Granting Authority for:

  • Variances
  • Special Permit Applications, including Special Permits with Design Review and Special Permits with Site Plan Review
  • Appeals by aggrieved parties of administrative or enforcement decisions
  • Comprehensive Permit Petitions (MGL Chapter 40B)

 

  • Notes for Applicants

  • Board Members

  • Reports & Decisions

Development Review Standards:

  • Please be advised that, per the standards set out in Article 15 of the Somerville Zoning Ordinance, a development review application is not complete until all required community and Design Review meetings have been held, all necessary information has been submitted, and all fees have been paid. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed, will not be publicly noticed, and will not be scheduled for a public hearing.
  • Planning staff will work with applicants to discuss meeting dates and review application materials.
  • Applications for large projects may require a longer review period and evaluation by multiple City departments before being deemed complete and scheduled for a public hearing.
  • Planning staff reserves the right to ask for additional information or to change meeting dates.
  • The list of anticipated public meeting dates for this Board can be found here.

Orsola Susan Fontano, Chair

Orsola Susan Fontano is a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals and also volunteers with the Elections Department, the Council of Aging, and the Art's Council. Some of her past affiliations include the Historic Preservation Commission, member of the award-winning Somerville All-American City delegation, and founding president of East Somerville Main Streets. She is self-employed, operating Up, Up & Away balloons since 1981 and managing her sister business Nefertiti Hair Salon since 1977.

Josh Safdie, Clerk

Josh Safdie, AIA, NCARB, is a Principal at KMA, an architecture and consulting practice. He serves as the co-chair of the Access Committee for the Boston Society of Architects and has received awards from the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board and the Boston Preservation Alliance for projects merging preservation and accessibility. He is also an Associate Professor at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and a contributor to Architecture Boston magazine.

Elaine Severino

Elaine Severino is a former educator and small business owner. She spent 5 years serving on the Zoning Task Force Committee that rewrote the previous Somerville Zoning laws and has served in the Zoning Board of Appeals for over 15 years. She is also a member of the Somerville Garden Club and dedicated to helping create better green spaces in Somerville.

Anne Brockelman

Anne Brockelman, AIA, LEED AP BD+C is an architect with two decades of experience in the design profession. She is an Associate Principal and Director of Sustainable Design at Perry Dean Rogers Partners Architects (PDR), a full-service architectural firm specializing in cultural and institutional projects, with a focus on higher education. Her diverse experience includes all project phases from planning, programming through construction, and various project types such as campus and facilities master plans, libraries, and academic buildings. Ms. Brockelman graduated from Wesleyan University with a B.A. in Art History and Studio Art, and holds a Master of Architecture from Harvard University's Graduate School of Design.

Katherine Garavalgia, Alternate

 

Reports and Decisions

PLEASE NOTE: Applications made before April 15, 2011 are not included in this listing and can be found by clicking here.

Street Number Case Number First Hearing Date Decisions Other Reports Updated datesort ascending
Woods Ave 75-77 ZBA 2019-126 Dec 11, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Woods Ave 75-77 - Plans (POST).pdf PDF icon Woods Ave 75-77 - Staff Report.pdf 01/08/2020 - 4:31pm
Broadway 916 ZBA 2019-122 Nov 20, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set PDF icon Broadway 916 - Staff Report.pdf 01/08/2020 - 4:30pm
Carlton Street 15 ZBA 2019-98 Nov 06, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 10-22-19
PDF icon Plan Set 11-18-19
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon 2nd Staff Report
01/08/2020 - 4:27pm
Laurel St 21 ZBA 2019-91 Sep 18, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Laurel St 21 - Plans (POST).pdf
PDF icon Laurel St 21 - Staff Report.pdf 01/08/2020 - 4:26pm
Bartlett St 15 ZBA 2019-73 Sep 12, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plot Plan PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report 10-16-19
01/08/2020 - 4:25pm
Flint Avenue 12 ZBA 2019-60 Oct 16, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 9-12-19
PDF icon Flint Ave 12 - Updated Plans Rec'd 12-2-2019.pdf
PDF icon Flint Ave 12 - Staff Report.pdf 01/08/2020 - 4:24pm
Sycamore 8 ZBA 2019-61 Nov 20, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 11-20
PDF icon Plan Set 12-11
PDF icon Staff Report 01/08/2020 - 4:21pm
Washington 103 ZBA 2017-53-E1-08-19 Nov 06, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Applicant Statement for Extension PDF icon Staff Report 01/08/2020 - 4:20pm
Elm St 48 ZBA 2019-79 Sep 04, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 01/08/2020 - 4:18pm
Glendale Ave 18 ZBA 2019-86 Sep 04, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Updated plans for September 18 2019 ZBA
PDF icon Updated plans for November 20, 2019 ZBA
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
01/08/2020 - 4:17pm
Murdock Street 17-25 ZBA 2016-129-R2-10/19 Nov 06, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Grading Photos 10-15-19
PDF icon Height chart 11-13-19
PDF icon Building 5 photos 11-14-19
PDF icon Staff Report 01/08/2020 - 4:16pm
Henderson Street 22 ZBA 2019-107 Nov 20, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 11-5-19 PDF icon Staff Report 01/08/2020 - 4:14pm
South Street 45 ZBA 2019-120 Nov 20, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 10-15-19
PDF icon Cover Letter 10-15-19
PDF icon Accessibility Narrative 10-15-19
PDF icon Plan Set 11-14-19
PDF icon Staff Report 01/08/2020 - 4:08pm
Broadway 242 ZBA 2019-119 Nov 20, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 11-07-19 PDF icon Staff Report 01/08/2020 - 4:06pm
Highland Ave 393 ZBA 2019-123 Nov 20, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 01/08/2020 - 3:52pm

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