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
South St 18 ZBA 2014-35 Jun 04, 2014 PDF icon SouthSt18 (#2014-35) (WWOP).pdf PDF icon Plans 11/05/2014 - 8:52am
South St 33 ZBA 2014-113 Dec 10, 2014 PDF icon SouthSt33.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Business Information
PDF icon Staff Report 02/19/2015 - 9:57am
South Street 101-153 MPSP2020-002 Sep 03, 2020 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Application
PDF icon Appendix
PDF icon 20.09.03 Planning Board Presentation
PDF icon 20.09.17 Planning Board Presentation
PDF icon 20200828 Staff Memo
PDF icon 20201009 Staff Memo
04/07/2021 - 3:18pm
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
South Street 138 PB 2015-03 Apr 02, 2015 PDF icon SouthSt138 (WWOP).pdf 05/13/2015 - 4:38pm
South Street 101 ZBA 2019-43 May 15, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Initial Plan Set
PDF icon Extension of Variance Decision
PDF icon Revision of SPSR Decision
PDF icon Staff Report 05/23/2019 - 12:07pm
Spencer Ave 5-7 ZBA2009-23 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Spring Hill Terr 19 ZBA 2015-102 Dec 09, 2015 PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 12/04/2015 - 12:19pm
Spring Hill Terrace 7 ZBA 2018-153 Nov 28, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 11-7-18
PDF icon Survey 9-25-18
PDF icon Staff Report 12/12/2018 - 10:20am
Spring Hill Terrace 8 ZBA 2017-58 Jul 12, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 6-7-17 PDF icon Staff Report 08/06/2018 - 11:50am
Spring St 50 ZBA 2016-33 May 04, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Staff Report 09/20/2018 - 7:17pm
Spring Street 34 ZBA 2018-119 Oct 24, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 10-02-18 PDF icon Staff Report 10/30/2018 - 11:54am
Springfield St 33 ZBA2008-73 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
St James Ave 34 ZBA2013-39-R1-10/2020 Oct 14, 2020 PDF icon St James Ave 34 - Narrative.pdf
PDF icon St James Ave 34 - Plans.pdf
PDF icon Staff Memo 10/06/2020 - 11:12am
Sterling Street 28 ZBA 2018-29 Apr 04, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 2-27-18
PDF icon Plan Set 3-23-28
PDF icon Staff Report 08/03/2018 - 11:33am

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