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 Date Decisions Other Reports Updated datesort descending
Broadway 1244 ZBA 2018-135 Mar 06, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 10-19-18
PDF icon Plan Set 2-11-19
PDF icon Staff Report 03/12/2019 - 12:05pm
McGrath Highway 1 ZBA 2018-138 Dec 12, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Narrative of changes
PDF icon Architectural Plans 9-27-18
PDF icon Civil Plans 9-26-18
PDF icon Staff Report 03/12/2019 - 12:11pm
Dane Ave 24 ZBA 2018-75 Jul 18, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set for 7-18-2018
PDF icon Plan Set for 8-8-2018
PDF icon Plan Set for Nov 7 2018
PDF icon Plan Set for Nov 28 2018
PDF icon Plan Set for Feb 20 2019
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
03/12/2019 - 12:14pm
Irvington Road 23-25 ZBA 2018-192 Mar 06, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 10-25-18
PDF icon Survey 4-16-18
PDF icon Staff Report 03/12/2019 - 12:26pm
Prospect St 109-111 ZBA 2018-139 Dec 12, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set Memo
PDF icon Plan Set 10-4-2018
PDF icon Plan Set for 2-6-2019 ZBA
PDF icon Plan Set for 2-20-2019 ZBA
PDF icon Plot Plan
PDF icon Staff Report 03/12/2019 - 1:28pm
Heath St 124 ZBA 2018-148 Dec 12, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Updated Plans
PDF icon Plans for 2-20-2019
PDF icon Updated plans for March 6, 2019 ZBA
PDF icon Staff Report 03/12/2019 - 1:36pm
Broadway 1252 ZBA 2018-38 Jul 12, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Plan Set - Updated July 2018
PDF icon Plan Set - Updated October 2018
PDF icon Plan Set - Updated for Nov 28 2018
PDF icon Plans for 2-20-2019 ZBA
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report for 2-20-2019
03/12/2019 - 1:44pm
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
Garrison Ave 24 ZBA 2018-181 Jan 23, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Updated plans for Feb 20 2019
PDF icon Updated table for March 20 2019 ZBA
PDF icon Staff Report 03/12/2019 - 7:48pm
Quincy 13 ZBA 2018-156 Feb 20, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 03/19/2019 - 12:27pm
Lovell Street 11 ZBA 2018-184 Mar 20, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 1-8-19
PDF icon Plan Set 1-17-19
PDF icon Staff Report 03/26/2019 - 3:08pm
Broadway 898 ZBA 2019-12 Mar 20, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 2-2-19 PDF icon Staff Report 03/26/2019 - 3:09pm
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
Greenville Street 7-9 ZBA 2018-169 Mar 06, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 11-14-18
PDF icon Plan Set 2-6-19
PDF icon Plan Set 3-14-19
PDF icon Staff Report 03/26/2019 - 3:14pm
Medford Street 496-500 ZBA 2018-185 Feb 06, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 1-7-19 PDF icon Staff Report 04/12/2019 - 9:31am

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