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 Number First Hearing Datesort descending Decisions Other Reports Updated date
Cameron Ave 45 ZBA 2016-81-R1-(08/18) Oct 03, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Staff Report 12/06/2018 - 9:43am
Fiske Ave 11 ZBA 2018-109 Oct 03, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Updated plans for Feb 20 2019
PDF icon Staff Memorandum 03/05/2019 - 7:29pm
Bay State Ave 11 ZBA 2018-101 Oct 03, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 10/31/2018 - 3:52pm
Grand Union Boulevard Block 5B PB2017-05-R1-0818 Oct 04, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon plan set
PDF icon revised site plan
PDF icon staff report 11/01/2018 - 6:29pm
Windsor Street 561 PB 2018-15 Oct 04, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon plan set
PDF icon phasing drawings
PDF icon accessibility narrative
PDF icon schedule of uses
PDF icon staff report
PDF icon revised staff report
PDF icon re-revised staff report
12/14/2018 - 9:40am
Gilman St 108 ZBA 2018-120 Oct 17, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 10/30/2018 - 11:52am
Dane Ave 35 ZBA 2018-116 Oct 17, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 11/16/2018 - 11:25am
Fountain Ave 22-24 ZBA 2018-117 Oct 24, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 11/19/2018 - 9:39am
Spring Street 34 ZBA 2018-119 Oct 24, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 10-02-18 PDF icon Staff Report 10/30/2018 - 11:54am
Somerville Avenue 515 ZBA 2018-122 Oct 24, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 8-29-18
PDF icon Traffic Study 8-30-18
PDF icon Accessibility Narrative 8-28-18
PDF icon Part 1 of Plan Set 10-4-18
PDF icon Part 2 of Plan Set 10-4-18
PDF icon Revised Traffic Study 10-09-18
PDF icon Staff Report 10/30/2018 - 11:54am
Broadway 1154 ZBA 2018-78 Oct 24, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 5-15-18
PDF icon Plan Set 10-17-18
PDF icon Traffic Study 4-20-18
PDF icon Staff Report 10/30/2018 - 11:53am
Alewife Brook Pkwy 395 ZBA 2018-40 Nov 07, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Plans for November 28, 2018
PDF icon Updated Plans for November 28, 2018
PDF icon Staff Report 12/12/2018 - 10:22am
Mossland St 15 ZBA 2018-124 Nov 07, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Updated Plans November 2018
PDF icon Updated Plans for Dec 12 2018
PDF icon Stamped Plot Plan for Dec 12, 2018
PDF icon Staff Report 12/26/2018 - 1:40pm
Franklin Street 30 ZBA 2018-126 Nov 07, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 10-2-18
PDF icon Plan Set 10-8-18
PDF icon Plan Set 11-2-18
PDF icon Staff Report 11/19/2018 - 9:51am
Alpine 81-83 ZBA 2018-141 Nov 07, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon ADA
PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Shadow Study
PDF icon Updated plans for March 20, 2019
PDF icon Updated Plans for June 5, 2019 ZBA
PDF icon Staff Report 07/02/2019 - 11:15am

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