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 Numbersort descending Case Number First Hearing Date Decisions Other Reports Updated date
Lowell Street 70 ZBA 2016-118 Jan 04, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/20/2018 - 12:37pm
Inner Belt Rd 70 & 100 ZBA 2007-63-R2 (8/2011) Sep 07, 2011 PDF icon InnerBeltRd70.pdf PDF icon Existing Conditions
PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Renderings
PDF icon DRC 9-8-11
PDF icon Staff Report 11/08/2011 - 8:38am
Inner Belt Rd 70&100 ZBA2007-63-R0808 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Broadway 701 2015-58 Jan 20, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/18/2018 - 11:46am
Broadway 708 ZBA2008-45 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Bow St 71 ZBA 2019-52 Aug 07, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/18/2019 - 4:53pm
Linwood St 71 ZBA 2010-70-R1-2/2012 Feb 29, 2012 PDF icon LinwoodSt71_R2-2012_.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 03/07/2012 - 11:22am
Union Square 71 DRA2020-0038 Jun 10, 2020 PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Context Elevations
PDF icon Plot Plan
PDF icon Variance Narrative
PDF icon Staff Memo 06/05/2020 - 10:25am
Union Square 71-72 CZC2020-00039 Apr 01, 2021 PDF icon Minor Site Plan Approval
PDF icon Site Plan Approval and Special Permit
PDF icon Approved Drawings
PDF icon Narrative
PDF icon Transportation Access Plan
PDF icon Transportation Impact Study
PDF icon Drawings
PDF icon Meeting Reports
PDF icon Staff Memo
PDF icon Supplemental Staff Memo
05/11/2021 - 4:26pm
Grant St 71-73 ZBA 2014-13 Apr 16, 2014 PDF icon GrantSt71-73.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 04/28/2014 - 11:05am
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
Broadway 719 ZBA2009-30 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Cedar St 72 ZBA 2014-50 Jul 16, 2014 PDF icon CedarSt72.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 07/25/2014 - 11:37am
Dimick 72 ZBA 2015-70 Nov 18, 2015 PDF icon Staff Report 11/16/2015 - 10:18am
School St 73 ZBA 2014-89 Oct 15, 2014 PDF icon SchoolSt73.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 02/19/2015 - 9:57am

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