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 Numbersort descending First Hearing Date Decisions Other Reports Updated date
Newbury 22 ZBA 2018-67 Jun 20, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Plot Plan
PDF icon Staff Report 08/02/2018 - 6:28pm
Glen Street 12 ZBA 2018-68 Jun 20, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon application plan set
PDF icon Revised plan set
PDF icon Staff Report 08/02/2018 - 6:29pm
College Ave 40 ZBA 2018-69 Jun 06, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Shadow Study
PDF icon Drawings
PDF icon Staff Report with corrected date and case number 07/23/2018 - 2:22pm
Everett Avenue 27 ZBA 2018-70 Jul 18, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 5-7-18 PDF icon Staff Report 07/23/2018 - 2:20pm
Hudson St 150 ZBA 2018-71 Aug 08, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 5-4-18
PDF icon Plan Set updated 8-28-18
12/19/2018 - 12:05pm
Wheeler St 17 ZBA 2018-72 Jul 18, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon 17 Wheeler plans 4-30-18.pdf
PDF icon Plot plan.pdf
PDF icon 17 Wheeler St Staff Report.pdf 07/23/2018 - 2:16pm
Elm Street 245 ZBA 2018-73 Aug 08, 2018 PDF icon Plan Set 3-16-18 08/07/2018 - 12:11pm
Inner Belt Road 70 ZBA 2018-74 Jun 20, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 5-29-18 PDF icon Staff Report 08/02/2018 - 6:31pm
Dane Ave 24 ZBA 2018-75 Jul 18, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set for 7-18-2018
PDF icon Plan Set for 8-8-2018
PDF icon Plan Set for Nov 7 2018
PDF icon Plan Set for Nov 28 2018
PDF icon Plan Set for Feb 20 2019
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
03/12/2019 - 12:14pm
Kenneson Rd 21 ZBA 2018-76 Jul 18, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans for July 18 2018 PDF icon Kenneson Rd 21 - Staff Report.pdf 07/23/2018 - 2:21pm
Wallace Street 100 ZBA 2018-77 Jul 18, 2018 PDF icon WallaceSt100.pdf PDF icon Plan Set 5-29-18
PDF icon Neighborhood Photos
PDF icon Staff Report 07/23/2018 - 2:18pm
Broadway 1154 ZBA 2018-78 Oct 24, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 5-15-18
PDF icon Plan Set 10-17-18
PDF icon Traffic Study 4-20-18
PDF icon Staff Report 10/30/2018 - 11:53am
Broadway 1154 ZBA 2018-78-E1-8/19 Sep 04, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Staff Report 09/10/2019 - 10:10am
Broadway 176-182 ZBA 2018-79 Jun 20, 2018 PDF icon Decision (WWOP)
PDF icon Memo
08/02/2018 - 6:29pm
Ware Street 8-10 ZBA 2018-80 Aug 22, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 6-13-18 PDF icon Staff Report 08/30/2018 - 11:49am

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