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
Walnut St 69 ZBA2008-37 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Walnut Street 33 ZBA 2017-44 Jun 21, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 5-4-17 PDF icon Staff Report 08/06/2018 - 11:57am
Walnut Street 166 ZBA 2018-28 Apr 04, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 08/03/2018 - 11:33am
Walnut Street 21 ZBA 2017-57 Sep 06, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 8-15-17 PDF icon Staff Report 08/06/2018 - 12:16pm
Ward 10-12 ZBA 2017-122-E1-121/8 Jan 09, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Previous Decision
PDF icon Staff Memo 01/30/2019 - 2:34pm
Ward St 10-12 ZBA 2017-122 Jan 17, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Ward St 10-12 - Plan Set for January 17, 2017 PDF icon Ward St 10-12 - Staff Report.pdf 08/07/2018 - 8:53am
Ward St 10-12 ZBA 2017-122-R1-2019 May 15, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set - Proposed Revisions
PDF icon Updated Revision Set for June 19, 2019
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report for June 19 2019 ZBA
07/08/2019 - 9:10am
Ward Street 29 ZBA 2019-42 Jun 05, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Architectural Plan 2-20-19
PDF icon Accessibility Letter 2-22-19
PDF icon Site Plan 6-25-19
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
08/12/2019 - 4:15pm
Ware Street 46 ZBA 2017-19 Apr 05, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 1-17-17
PDF icon Plan Set 3-22-17
PDF icon Staff Report 08/06/2018 - 11:36am
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
Warner St 38 ZBA 2011-72 Oct 19, 2011 PDF icon WarnerSt38 (Denied).pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 12/16/2011 - 11:31am
Warner St 38 ZBA 2014-47 Jun 18, 2014 PDF icon WarnerSt38.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/27/2014 - 11:17am
Warren Ave 15 ZBA 2010-69 Oct 15, 2010 PDF icon WarrenAve15.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon PB Report
09/09/2011 - 11:30am
Warwick 15 ZBA 2016-03 Jun 22, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/21/2018 - 10:09am
Warwick St 29 ZBA 2015-05 Mar 04, 2015 PDF icon WarwickSt29.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 03/18/2015 - 1:22pm

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