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
Smith Ave 10 ZBA 2018-62 Jun 20, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan set for 6-20-2018 PDF icon Staff Report 08/02/2018 - 6:29pm
Somerville Ave 595 ZBA 2013-58 Jan 08, 2014 PDF icon SomervilleAve595.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Traffic Report
PDF icon Plans updated
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Staff Report updated
03/17/2014 - 10:59am
Somerville Ave 314-316 PB 2014-22 Aug 21, 2014 PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/26/2014 - 9:25am
Somerville Ave 379 PB 2011-19 Nov 17, 2011 PDF icon SomervilleAve379.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 12/16/2011 - 11:29am
Somerville Ave 335 PB 2011-22 Jan 19, 2012 PDF icon SomervilleAve335.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 02/06/2012 - 4:41pm
Somerville Ave 453 ZBA #2019-114-R1 12/19 Mar 11, 2020 PDF icon Decision PDF icon April 8 Drawings
PDF icon April 30 Drawings
PDF icon June 10 Drawings
PDF icon March 4 Staff Report
PDF icon Views
PDF icon April 9 Staff Report
PDF icon May 6 Staff Report
PDF icon June 10 Staff Report
10/07/2020 - 9:59am
Somerville Ave 230 PB 2012-07 Apr 19, 2012 PDF icon SomervilleAve230 _#2012-07_.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 05/25/2012 - 9:03am
Somerville Ave 587-593 ZBA 2013-82 Jan 08, 2014 PDF icon SomervilleAve587-593.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Traffic Report
PDF icon Plans updated
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Staff Report updated
03/17/2014 - 10:59am
Somerville Ave 185 PB 2014-21 Aug 21, 2014 PDF icon SomervilleAve185.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 08/28/2014 - 9:29am
Somerville Ave 380 PB 2010-23 May 19, 2011 PDF icon SomervilleAve380.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Traffic Impact Report
PDF icon Shadow Study
PDF icon Tenant Relocation Plan
PDF icon Staff Report 5/12/11
PDF icon Staff Report 6/30/11
PDF icon Staff Report 7/13/11
08/03/2011 - 4:17pm
Somerville Ave 337 ZBA 2016-116 Oct 05, 2016 PDF icon Decision 09/20/2018 - 7:12pm
Somerville Ave 346 PB 2019-08 Sep 05, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Link to Plan Set
PDF icon Parking/Traffic Study Memo
PDF icon Parking/Traffic Study Narrative
PDF icon Link to Updated Plan Set for 10-3-2019 PB
PDF icon Plan Set 12-10-2019
PDF icon Staff Report - PB
PDF icon REVISED Staff Report
PDF icon Second Revised Staff Report
PDF icon Staff Report 3rd Revision
PDF icon Somerville Ave 346 - Memo 12-5-19.pdf
01/15/2020 - 9:05am
Somerville Ave 365 PB 2019-50 Sep 19, 2019 PDF icon Decision 10/28/2019 - 5:36pm
Somerville Ave 346 ZBA 2019-19 Feb 26, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Preliminary Plans
PDF icon Link to Plan Set for Sept 4 & 5 2019
PDF icon Link to Updated Plan Set for 10-2-2019 ZBA
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon REVISED Staff Report
PDF icon Staff Report - Second Revision
PDF icon Staff Report 3rd Revision
01/15/2020 - 9:08am
Somerville Ave 290 PB 2013-07 May 02, 2013 PDF icon SomervilleAve290.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Concept Board
PDF icon Staff Report 05/09/2013 - 1:36pm

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