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 Block 6 6 PB 2014-24 Sep 04, 2014 PDF icon ASQ Block 6 (PB 2014-24)(COMBINED).pdf PDF icon Summary
PDF icon Accessibility Narrative
PDF icon Transportation Narrative
PDF icon Civil Plans
PDF icon Open Space Plan
PDF icon Architectural Plans
PDF icon Utility Analysis
PDF icon Water System Analysis
PDF icon Shadow Study
PDF icon LEED Checklist
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Revised Elevations 2014.09.25
10/15/2014 - 3:59pm
McGrath Hwy 434 PB 2014-23 Aug 21, 2014 PDF icon McGrathHwy434.pdf PDF icon Plans 10-7-2014
PDF icon Civil Plans
PDF icon Drainage Report
PDF icon Updated Landscape plan
PDF icon Staff Report 11/03/2014 - 9:12am
Somerville Ave 314-316 PB 2014-22 Aug 21, 2014 PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/26/2014 - 9:25am
Somerville Ave 185 PB 2014-21 Aug 21, 2014 PDF icon SomervilleAve185.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 08/28/2014 - 9:29am
Broadway 337-341 PB 2014-20 Apr 02, 2015 PDF icon Broadway337 (#2014-20) (Signage).pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 07/09/2015 - 6:54pm
Medford St 35-37 PB 2014-19 Jul 10, 2014 PDF icon MedfordSt35-37.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 07/25/2014 - 11:36am
Somerville Ave 515 PB 2014-18 Oct 01, 2014 PDF icon Rendering
PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Civil Plans
PDF icon Drainage Report
PDF icon Shadow Study
PDF icon 3D Views
02/19/2015 - 9:58am
Assembly Row Block 11 (399 Revolution Dr/Grand Union Blvd) 11 PB 2014-17 Jul 10, 2014 PDF icon AssemblyRowBlock11wAppendix.pdf PDF icon Civil Plans
PDF icon Arch Plans & Perspectives
PDF icon Open Space Plan
PDF icon Utility Analysis
PDF icon LEED Worksheet
PDF icon Presentation to DRC (Renderings, Shadow Studies, Connectivity)
PDF icon Transportation Analysis
PDF icon Transportation Appendix
PDF icon Staff Report 11/20/2014 - 11:50am
Broadway 83-91 PB 2014-15 Jun 19, 2014 PDF icon Broadway83-91.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 08/28/2014 - 9:53am
Mystic Ave 65-75 PB 2014-14 May 22, 2014 PDF icon MysticAve75.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 10/03/2014 - 11:43am
Broadway 77 PB 2014-13 May 21, 2014 PDF icon Broadway77.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 08/28/2014 - 9:52am
Broadway 2-8 PB 2014-12-R1(/3/2016) Apr 28, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/18/2018 - 11:35am
Broadway 2-8 PB 2014-12 May 08, 2014 PDF icon Broadway2-8.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Traffic Assessment
PDF icon Site Plan
PDF icon Drainage Report
PDF icon Traffic Assessment Updated
PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Plans 2014.05
PDF icon Staff Report 10/19/2015 - 3:40pm
Union Sq 73-75 PB 2014-11 May 08, 2014 PDF icon UnionSq73-76.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/27/2014 - 11:26am
McGrath Hwy 844 PB 2014-10 May 08, 2014 PDF icon McGrathHwy844.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Photo Sims
PDF icon Staff Report 06/27/2014 - 11:27am

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