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
Kensington Ave 24 ZBA 2019-104 Oct 16, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 8-20-19 PDF icon Staff Report 10/24/2019 - 11:58am
Cameron Avenue 45 ZBA 2016-81-R2-(09/19) Oct 16, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Staff Report 10/24/2019 - 11:57am
Broadway 328 PB 2019-22 Oct 17, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Proposed Sketch PDF icon Staff Report 10/24/2019 - 11:57am
Lexington Ave 5 ZBA 2019-94 Sep 04, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set PDF icon Staff Report 10/16/2019 - 4:04pm
Summer St 137 ZBA 2019-40 Jul 17, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set for August 7 2019
PDF icon Updated Plan Set for August 21, 2019 ZBA
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
10/16/2019 - 2:29pm
Elm Street 219-221 ZBA 2019-99 Oct 02, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Existing Floor Plan
PDF icon Proposed Floor Plan 8-15-19
PDF icon Accessibility Narrative 8-27-19
PDF icon Staff Report 10/16/2019 - 2:28pm
Broadway 385 ZBA 2019-102 Oct 02, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 9-17-19
PDF icon Accessibility Letter 8-28-19
PDF icon Staff Report 10/16/2019 - 2:28pm
Broadway 1060 ZBA 2016-79-R1-7-19 Oct 03, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Google drive link to plans PDF icon Broadway 1060 (Powderhouse School - Staff Report.pdf 10/16/2019 - 2:27pm
Mystic Ave 350 ZBA 2019-103 Oct 02, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set PDF icon Staff Report 10/16/2019 - 2:27pm
Dane St 11R ZBA 2019-77 Sep 18, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Plot Plan
PDF icon Staff Report 10/16/2019 - 2:26pm
Dane St 7 ZBA 2019-78 Sep 18, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Plot Plan
PDF icon Staff Report 10/16/2019 - 2:26pm
Highland Avenue 371 ZBA 2019-105 Nov 20, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set 8-30-19 10/15/2019 - 4:29pm
Aldersey St 12 ZBA 2019-80 Aug 30, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Updated plans for September 18 2019 ZBA
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
10/01/2019 - 2:55pm
Carver St 10-12 ZBA 2019-89 Sep 18, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set PDF icon Staff Report 10/01/2019 - 2:54pm
Irving St 75 ZBA 2019-76 Sep 18, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Staff Report - Revised
10/01/2019 - 2:53pm

Pages

Subscribe to Reports and Decisions