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 Number Case Numbersort descending First Hearing Date Decisions Other Reports Updated date
Broadway 595 ZBA 2018-94 Sep 17, 2018 PDF icon 595 Broadway.pdf PDF icon Plan Set 6-25-18
PDF icon Plan Set 8-31-18
PDF icon Plan Set 9-25-18
PDF icon Staff Report 10/10/2018 - 1:18pm
Rogers Ave 76-78 ZBA 2018-95 Sep 17, 2018 PDF icon Rogers76.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/27/2018 - 2:54pm
Avon St 12 ZBA 2018-96 Aug 22, 2018 PDF icon Decision (WWOP) PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Plans - Updated for Aug 22, 2018
PDF icon Staff Report 09/04/2018 - 3:19pm
Highland Avenue 144 ZBA 2018-97 Aug 22, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 6-29-18
PDF icon Plan Set 11-07-18
PDF icon Staff Report 12/19/2018 - 11:52am
Laurel Street 46 ZBA 2018-98 Aug 22, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 6-29-18
PDF icon Accessibility Narrative 7-2-18
PDF icon Staff Report 08/30/2018 - 11:50am
Fitchburg Street 28 ZBA 2018-99 Oct 03, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon drawing set
PDF icon parking study
PDF icon environmental report
PDF icon sample schematic elevations - later application
PDF icon updated parking memo
PDF icon staff report
PDF icon revised report
12/19/2018 - 11:34am
Oak Street 7 ZBA 2019-01 Jul 17, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 1-2-19
PDF icon Accessibility Letter 1-2-19
PDF icon Sustainability
PDF icon Plan Set 3-13-19
PDF icon Plan Set 5-24-19
PDF icon Plan Set 7-29-18
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
08/12/2019 - 4:16pm
Eastman Road 21 ZBA 2019-02 Sep 18, 2019 PDF icon Storm Drainage Report 6-13-18
PDF icon Geotech Report 7-12-18
PDF icon Storm Drainage Summary 7-19-18
PDF icon Soil Test Pit 8-26-18
PDF icon Geotech Report 9-5-18
PDF icon Civil Site Plan 9-9-18
PDF icon Erosion Control Plan 9-3-18
PDF icon Recon Wall Calculations 9-10-18
PDF icon Structural Plans 9-10-18
PDF icon Shadow Study 12-26-18
PDF icon Plan Set 12-28-18
PDF icon Plan Set 5-9-19
PDF icon Plan Set 7-17-19
PDF icon Landscape Plan 2-15-19
PDF icon Civil Site Plan 3-13-19
PDF icon 3D Views 10-16-19
PDF icon 3D Views 11-6-19
PDF icon Staff Report 11/12/2019 - 9:00am
Marshall Street 88 ZBA 2019-03 Mar 06, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans (12.10.18)
PDF icon Plot Plan
PDF icon Staff Report 03/12/2019 - 12:01pm
Harrison Street 21 ZBA 2019-04 Mar 06, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 1-3-19 PDF icon Staff Report 03/12/2019 - 12:02pm
Fellsway West 14B ZBA 2019-06 Mar 20, 2019 PDF icon Fellsway West 14B - Plans.pdf PDF icon Staff Report 03/12/2019 - 5:14pm
Francesca Avenue 41-43 ZBA 2019-07 Mar 20, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 2-26-19
PDF icon Plan Set 3-8-19
PDF icon Plan Set 4-26-19
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
05/22/2019 - 10:50am
Knowlton Street 29 ZBA 2019-09 Mar 20, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set - Initial Submission PDF icon Staff Report 03/26/2019 - 3:12pm
Broadway 711-713 ZBA 2019-10 May 15, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Updated Plans for May 15, 2019
PDF icon Staff Report 05/23/2019 - 12:06pm
Belmont Street 40 ZBA 2019-101 Oct 16, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set PDF icon Staff Report 10/28/2019 - 6:17pm

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