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 ascending First Hearing Date Decisions Other Reports Updated date
Assembly Row Line Park Building B PB2016-14-R1-11/17 Jan 30, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Elevations & proposed screening PDF icon Staff Report 08/07/2018 - 8:56am
Assembly Row 400-499 PB2014-34-R4 (9/2017) Dec 14, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon staff report 08/07/2018 - 8:58am
Assembly Row Public Assembly Use - Assembly Sq Dr 201 PB2013-12 Jun 06, 2013 PDF icon AssemblySq201Combined.pdf PDF icon Plans - Site / Floor
PDF icon Plans - Tent 1 of 2
PDF icon Plans - Tent 2 of 2
PDF icon Staff Report 06/25/2014 - 2:13pm
Broadway 79-83 PB2010-05 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Medford St 39R PB2010-02 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Mystic Ave 29 PB2010-01 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Benton Rd 1 PB2009-17 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Windsor St 561 PB2009-16 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
McGrath Hwy 844 PB2009-14 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
ASMD Phase 1AAA -Marketplace PB2009-13 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Somerville Ave 282 PB2009-12 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
ASMD Phase 1AA -ASD PB2009-05-R-1109 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
ASMD Phase 1AA PB2009-05 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Clyde St (MaxPak -Rev) 56-61 PB2008-07-R-0410 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Clyde St (MaxPak -Rev) 56-61 PB2008-07-MA-0410 05/20/2010 - 7:10am

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