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
Middlesex Ave 74 DRA #2020-0162 Apr 30, 2020 PDF icon Decision
PDF icon MMP Final Decision
PDF icon MPSP – Original Submission – 041420
PDF icon MSMP - MMP Certification - 060420
PDF icon MSMP - MMP Final Decision - 060420
PDF icon Response to Engineering Comments - 052120
PDF icon Response to PSUF Comments - 052120
PDF icon Block and Lot Plan
PDF icon Staff Memo
PDF icon PSUF Comments - 050420
PDF icon Engineering Comments - 050520
PDF icon Staff Report - June 11
07/01/2020 - 10:13am
Chandler 74 ZBA 2015-99 Dec 09, 2015 PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Elevations
PDF icon Staff Report 05/17/2018 - 3:49pm
Foley St 74 & 100 PB 2011-17 Nov 03, 2011 PDF icon FoleySt74&100.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 12/16/2011 - 11:40am
Somerville Avenue 741 ZBA 2016-134 Nov 07, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/20/2018 - 7:13pm
Somerville Avenue 741 ZBA 2016-134 Dec 07, 2016 PDF icon Decision 08/06/2018 - 11:17am
Broadway 746 ZBA 2014-101 Nov 05, 2014 PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 02/19/2015 - 9:57am
Somerville Ave 749 ZBA 2014-41 Jun 04, 2014 PDF icon SomervilleAve749.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/27/2014 - 11:23am
Trull St 74b ZBA 2014-110 Dec 10, 2014 PDF icon TrullSt74B.pdf PDF icon Plan PDF icon Staff Report 02/19/2015 - 9:57am
Bow Street 75 ZBA 2015-02 Jan 02, 2015 PDF icon BowSt75 (WWOP).pdf 02/23/2015 - 9:22am
Rush St 75 ZBA 2018-66 Jun 20, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set for 6-20-2018 PDF icon Staff Report 08/02/2018 - 6:28pm
Washington Street 75 ZBA 2017-27 Jul 12, 2017 PDF icon plan set
PDF icon Revised plan set
PDF icon HPC review
08/06/2018 - 12:30pm
Washington Street 75 ZBA 2017-27 Aug 16, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 08-03-17 PDF icon Staff Report 08/06/2018 - 12:24pm
Irving St 75 ZBA 2019-76 Sep 18, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Staff Report - Revised
10/01/2019 - 2:53pm
Woods Ave 75-77 ZBA 2019-126 Dec 11, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Woods Ave 75-77 - Plans (POST).pdf PDF icon Woods Ave 75-77 - Staff Report.pdf 01/08/2020 - 4:31pm
School St 76 ZBA 2018-34 Apr 18, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 4-10-18 PDF icon Staff Report 08/03/2018 - 11:28am

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