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.

Streetsort descending Number Case Number First Hearing Date Decisions Other Reports Updated date
Somerville Ave 374 PB 2017-16 and ZBA 2018-11 Oct 19, 2017 PDF icon ZBA Decision
PDF icon PB Decision
PDF icon PB Decision MEMO
PDF icon PB MEMO
PDF icon Code Report
PDF icon Plan Set 6-23-17
PDF icon Perspective Views
PDF icon Aerial Rendering
PDF icon Carlton Street Elevation
PDF icon Plan Set 3-8-18
PDF icon Plan Set 3-27-18
PDF icon Plan Set 5-24-18
PDF icon Zoning Data
PDF icon Variance Staff Report
PDF icon SPSR Staff Report
PDF icon Updated SPSR Staff Report
08/07/2018 - 1:45pm
Somerville Ave 749 ZBA 2014-41 Jun 04, 2014 PDF icon SomervilleAve749.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/27/2014 - 11:23am
Somerville Ave 337 ZBA 2016-116-R2-11/20 Dec 16, 2020 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Narrative (Updated) PDF icon Staff Memo - Feb 3 02/16/2021 - 12:49pm
Somerville Ave 391-395 ZBA 2019-37 May 15, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Updated plans for June 19, 2019 ZBA
PDF icon Staff Report 07/02/2019 - 11:06am
Somerville Ave 444 PB 2015-53 Aug 20, 2015 PDF icon 444 Somerville Ave.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 08/21/2015 - 10:48am
Somerville Ave 515 P&Z 21-049 Jun 23, 2021 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Murrow Appeal
PDF icon Murrow Appeal - Appendix
PDF icon YEM Response
PDF icon Murrow Supplement (6-23-21)
PDF icon Staff Memo 07/09/2021 - 9:35am
Somerville Ave 230 PB 2012-01 Feb 02, 2012 PDF icon SomervilleAve230.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 1-26-12
PDF icon Staff Report 3-8-12
08/02/2012 - 12:17pm
Somerville Ave 337 PB 2016-09-R2-11/20 Dec 17, 2020 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Narrative (Updated) PDF icon Staff Memo - Feb 3 02/16/2021 - 12:48pm
Somerville Ave 515 AA2020-0001 Feb 26, 2020 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Staff Report 06/03/2021 - 2:36pm
Somerville Ave 365-369 DRA2020-0125 Jun 25, 2020 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Memo 08/28/2020 - 10:00am
Somerville Avenue 337 PB 2016-09-R1-0317 Aug 09, 2017 PDF icon Decision 10/29/2020 - 10:57am
Somerville Avenue 337 ZBA 2016-116-R1-0317 Apr 19, 2017 PDF icon Decision 08/06/2018 - 12:07pm
Somerville Avenue 335 PB 2017-10 Jun 08, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Facade Renovations PDF icon Staff Report 08/06/2018 - 11:58am
Somerville Avenue 304 PB 2017-20 Dec 14, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Traffic Study
PDF icon Plan Set 7-31-17
PDF icon Plan Set 9-8-17
PDF icon Renderings 12-21-17
PDF icon Staff Report 08/07/2018 - 8:56am
Somerville Avenue 741 ZBA 2016-134 Nov 07, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/20/2018 - 7:13pm

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