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
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
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
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
Highland Avenue 371 ZBA 2019-105 Nov 20, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set 8-30-19 10/15/2019 - 4:29pm
Yorktown Street 110-112 ZBA 2019-106 Nov 06, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 10-20-19 PDF icon Staff Report 11/08/2019 - 12:01pm
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
Medford St 345 ZBA 2019-108 Dec 11, 2019 PDF icon Plans PDF icon Medford St 345 - Staff Report (POST).pdf 12/10/2019 - 9:53am
Winslow Ave 74 ZBA 2019-11 Apr 17, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Plans
10/29/2019 - 3:42pm
Washington 121 ZBA 2019-111 Nov 06, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Updated plans
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Washington St 121 - Staff Report UPDATED.pdf
01/15/2020 - 9:19am
Dartmouth Street 3 ZBA 2019-112 Nov 20, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set 9-23-19
PDF icon Plan Set 11-4-19
PDF icon Staff Report 11/15/2019 - 9:34am
Somerville Avenue 453 ZBA 2019-114 Nov 20, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 11-4-19
PDF icon Accessibility Letter 11-14-19
PDF icon 2019.12.03 Ground Floor Plan (POST).pdf
PDF icon Shadow Studies COMBINED.pdf
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Somerville Ave 453 - Memo 2019-12-5.pdf
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Views
03/06/2020 - 11:37am
Clarendon Hill 00 ZBA 2019-115 Dec 11, 2019 PDF icon Project Narrative
PDF icon Plan Set 10-7-19
PDF icon Traffic Study 9-19
10/31/2019 - 10:51am
Highland Avenue 20 ZBA 2019-118 Dec 11, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set 10-3-19 PDF icon Highland Ave 20 - Staff Report (POST).pdf 12/10/2019 - 9:22am
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
Broadway 898 ZBA 2019-12 Mar 20, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 2-2-19 PDF icon Staff Report 03/26/2019 - 3:09pm

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