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
Wesley Pk 24 ZBA 2014-66 PDF icon WesleyPark24.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Staff Report 08.06.2014
08/19/2014 - 4:04pm
Westminster St 7 ZBA 2016-65 Oct 05, 2016 09/21/2018 - 10:21am
Westminster St 7 ZBA 2012-65 Sep 05, 2012 PDF icon WestminsterSt7.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 10/05/2012 - 10:43am
Weston Ave 15 ZBA 2014-24 May 07, 2014 PDF icon WestonAve15.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Photo Sims
PDF icon Staff Report 08/19/2014 - 3:59pm
Weston Ave 15 ZBA1998-37-R0208 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Weston Ave 15 ZBA2008-35 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Weston Ave 15 ZBA 2011-85 Apr 04, 2012 PDF icon WestonAve15.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Photo Simulations
PDF icon Staff Report 04/24/2012 - 4:34pm
Weston Ave 15 ZBA 2014-43 Jun 18, 2014 PDF icon WestonAve15 #2014-43).pdf PDF icon Photo Sims
PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Updated Plans
PDF icon Updated Photo Sims
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
PDF icon Staff Report 08/19/2014 - 3:58pm
Weston Avenue 15 ZBA 2012-96 Dec 12, 2012 PDF icon WestonAve15_#2012-96_.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Photo Simulations
PDF icon Staff Report 01/03/2013 - 10:07am
Westwood Rd 1 ZBA 2012-29 May 02, 2012 PDF icon WestwoodRd1.pdf PDF icon Plot & Site Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/11/2012 - 1:02pm
Westwood Rd 1 ZBA 2016-04 Aug 17, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/21/2018 - 10:24am
Wheatland Street 96 ZBA 2018-175 May 15, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 6-11-18
PDF icon Survey 5-15-18
PDF icon Plan Set 4-25-19
PDF icon Plan Set 5-30-19
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
07/02/2019 - 11:17am
Wheeler St 17 ZBA 2018-72 Jul 18, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon 17 Wheeler plans 4-30-18.pdf
PDF icon Plot plan.pdf
PDF icon 17 Wheeler St Staff Report.pdf 07/23/2018 - 2:16pm
Whipple St 16 ZBA 2018-173 Apr 03, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Updated plans for September 18, 2019 ZBA
PDF icon Plot Plan
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
09/30/2019 - 7:28pm
Whipple Street 8 ZBA 2017-96 Oct 18, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 10-30-17 PDF icon Staff Report 08/07/2018 - 12:54pm

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