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
Broadway 323 PB 2018-10 Jun 07, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Signage Rendering 6-4-18 PDF icon 323 Broadway Staff Report.pdf 08/03/2018 - 11:15am
Broadway 57 PB 2018-08 May 02, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 01/08/2020 - 3:50pm
Broadway 130 PB 2018-05 Apr 05, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Fat Hen graphic 1-24-18
PDF icon Perfect Dental graphic 1-24-18
PDF icon Staff Report 10/17/2018 - 8:57am
Broadway 130 PB 2018-05 Apr 05, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Fat Hen Graphics
PDF icon Perfect Dental Graphics
PDF icon Staff Report 08/03/2018 - 11:29am
Somerville Ave 382 PB 2018-02 Mar 08, 2018 PDF icon Withdrawal PDF icon drawing set 08/07/2018 - 1:26pm
Mystic Ave 654 PB 2018-01 Jan 31, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans for January 31, 2018
PDF icon Plans for Feb 13, 2018
PDF icon Staff Report for Jan 31 2018
PDF icon Updated Staff Report for Feb 13, 2018
PDF icon 654 Mystic Plans for 2-13-2018 - updated w A020 footnote correction for lot sq.ft_..pdf
11/05/2018 - 8:00pm
Broadway 114 PB 2017-29 Mar 08, 2018 PDF icon drawing set
PDF icon revised design drawing set
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Staff Report - updated & corrected
PDF icon Memo to Planning Board
08/07/2018 - 8:47am
Broadway 192 PB 2017-28 Dec 14, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Signage 11-22-17
PDF icon Photo of sign
PDF icon Signage 2-6-18
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
08/07/2018 - 8:53am
McGrath Hwy (PUD) 845 PB 2017-27 Jan 04, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Application package
PDF icon impervious clarification
PDF icon response to questions
PDF icon memo to T&I
PDF icon air quality report
PDF icon design guidelines
PDF icon Preliminary Staff Report - prior to testimony
PDF icon Revised staff report with conditions
PDF icon Staff Memo
PDF icon Staff Memo
02/21/2020 - 12:12pm
NorthPoint Open Space EF/G PB 2017-24 Dec 14, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon drawing set
PDF icon application package
PDF icon revised application package - 12.05.17
PDF icon Staff Report 08/07/2018 - 8:58am
NorthPoint Parcel EF PB 2017-23 Dec 14, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon plan set
PDF icon civil set
PDF icon application package
PDF icon revised application package - 12.05.17
PDF icon Staff Report 08/07/2018 - 1:17pm
Broadway 176-182 PB 2017-22 Jun 21, 2018 PDF icon Plans for June 21 2018 Plng Board
PDF icon Updated Plan Set for 6-21-2018
PDF icon Updated Plan Set for Dec 12 2018
PDF icon Broadway 176-182 - Plans for December 13, 2019 ZBA.pdf
PDF icon Broadway%20176-182%20-%20Plans%20121319%20%28POST%29.pdf
PDF icon Staff Report 12/10/2019 - 3:34pm
Union Square CDSP PB 2017-21 Nov 20, 2017 PDF icon CDSP decision PDF icon Revised: USQ CDSP Application
PDF icon Revised: Appendix 1 – Applicant Info
PDF icon Revised: Appendix 3 – Civic Space
PDF icon Appendix 4 – T.I.S. & Mobility
PDF icon Revised: Lot & Block Plans
PDF icon Revised: Thoroughfare Plans
PDF icon Revised: Utility Exhibits
PDF icon Revised: Appendix 2 - Neighborhood Mtg
PDF icon Preliminary Staff Report - prior to testimony
PDF icon mobility management memo
PDF icon Memo in response to 11/20/17 questions
08/07/2018 - 8:58am
Somerville Avenue 304 PB 2017-20 Dec 14, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Traffic Study
PDF icon Plan Set 7-31-17
PDF icon Plan Set 9-8-17
PDF icon Renderings 12-21-17
PDF icon Staff Report 08/07/2018 - 8:56am
Broadway 44 PB 2017-19 Nov 30, 2017 PDF icon Plan Set 9-20-17
PDF icon Landscape Plan 9-22-17
PDF icon Summary of Environmental Conditions.pdf
08/07/2018 - 1:23pm

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