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 Numbersort descending Case Number First Hearing Date Decisions Other Reports Updated date
Monmouth Street 9 ZBA 2013-14 Apr 03, 2013 PDF icon MonmouthSt9.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Plot plan
PDF icon Traffic Report
PDF icon Staff Report 09/16/2013 - 11:39am
Medford St 9 & 39 ZBA 2013-89 Jan 08, 2014 PDF icon MedfordSt9&39.pdf PDF icon Staff Report 02/12/2014 - 12:30pm
Medford St 9 & 39 PB 2013-17 Nov 07, 2013 PDF icon MedfordSt9&39.pdf PDF icon Plans 10.8.13
PDF icon Traffic Analysis
PDF icon Drainage Report
PDF icon Plans 10.31.13
PDF icon Plans 11.19.13
PDF icon Staff Report 10.31.13
PDF icon Staff Report 11.14.13
PDF icon Memo 11.21.13
11/27/2013 - 9:49am
Medford Street 9 & 39 PB2018-13 Sep 06, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon drawing package PDF icon staff report 09/12/2018 - 9:25am
Sanborn Ct / Washington St 9 / 255 PB 2011-09 May 19, 2011 PDF icon SanbornCt9-WashingtonS255.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/06/2011 - 1:12pm
Pitman St / Beech St 9 18 ZBA2008-30 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Aldersey St 9-11 ZBA 2003-25 Jan 06, 2021 PDF icon Remand Plan Set
PDF icon Remand Plan Set (updated)
PDF icon Staff Memo
PDF icon Staff Memo (updated)
01/19/2021 - 5:36pm
Glendale Ave 9-11 ZBA2008-60 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Irvington 9-11 ZBA 2013-15 Apr 03, 2013 PDF icon IrvingtonRd9-11.pdf PDF icon Cover Sheet
PDF icon Demo Plan
PDF icon Specifications
PDF icon Attic and Roof Plans
PDF icon Framing
PDF icon Attic Building Sections
PDF icon Partial Elevations
PDF icon Staff Report 04/09/2013 - 5:03pm
Glendale Ave 9-11 ZBA2008-46 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Aberdeen Road 9-11 ZBA 2014-123 Jan 21, 2015 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan PDF icon Memo - new zoning analysis
PDF icon Staff Report
08/09/2018 - 5:25pm
Dresden Crl 9-11 ZBA 2015-47 Aug 05, 2015 PDF icon DresdenCircle9-11.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 08/20/2015 - 9:00am
Aberdeen Rd 9-11 ZBA 2014-123 Jan 21, 2015 PDF icon AberdeenRd9-11.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Memo - new zoning analysis
02/23/2015 - 9:16am
Harvard Pl 9-11 ZBA2009-04 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Aldersey St 9-11 ZBA 2003-25 Dec 16, 2020 PDF icon Remand Plan Set 12/11/2020 - 11:06pm

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