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.

Streetsort descending Number Case Number First Hearing Date Decisions Other Reports Updated date
Village St 19-21 ZBA 2013-53-R1(11/2015) Dec 09, 2015 PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 12/04/2015 - 12:22pm
Village St 23-25-27 ZBA 2012-80 Oct 17, 2012 PDF icon VillageSt23-25-27.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Recommendations and ASTM Conclusions
PDF icon Environmental Report
PDF icon Letter to MA DEP #1
PDF icon Letter to MA DEP #2
PDF icon Staff Report 10/26/2012 - 9:08am
Village Ter 1 & 2 ZBA 2011-77 Apr 18, 2012 PDF icon VillageTerrace1&2.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon DRC 1-12-12
PDF icon DRC 2-23-12
PDF icon Plans- Revised 7.25.12
PDF icon Plans- Revised 11.20.12
PDF icon Plans- Revised Posted 11.28.12
PDF icon Staff Report 3.2012
PDF icon Staff Report 11.2012
PDF icon Staff Report 11.28.2012
01/03/2013 - 10:05am
Village Terrace 2 ZBA 2018-132 Nov 07, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans (10.23.18) PDF icon Staff Report 11/19/2018 - 12:07pm
Vinal Ave 17 ZBA 2012-43 May 18, 2012 PDF icon VinalAve17.pdf PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Plans
08/02/2012 - 12:14pm
Vinal Ave 3-5 ZBA2009-56 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Wallace St 30 ZBA 2012-56 Aug 01, 2012 PDF icon WallaceSt30.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 01/03/2013 - 10:04am
Wallace St 56 ZBA 2013-66 Jan 08, 2014 PDF icon WallaceSt56.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 01/22/2014 - 6:13pm
Wallace St 68 ZBA 2011-75 Nov 02, 2011 PDF icon WallaceSt68.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 12/16/2011 - 11:39am
Wallace St 34-34 ZBA 2012-87 Dec 12, 2012 PDF icon WallaceSt32-34.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 01/03/2013 - 10:04am
Wallace St 99 ZBA 2014-68 Aug 20, 2014 PDF icon WallaceSt99.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 08/28/2014 - 9:27am
Wallace Street 100 ZBA 2018-77 Jul 18, 2018 PDF icon WallaceSt100.pdf PDF icon Plan Set 5-29-18
PDF icon Neighborhood Photos
PDF icon Staff Report 07/23/2018 - 2:18pm
Wallace Street 76 ZBA 2019-51 Jun 19, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 5-23-19
PDF icon Plan Set 6-13-19
PDF icon Staff Report 07/02/2019 - 11:16am
Walnut 130 ZBA 2018-39 Apr 18, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Appeal Docs for 5-2-18 PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Staff Report - Updated for May 16 2018
08/03/2018 - 11:17am
Walnut 130 ZBA 2017-70 Oct 04, 2017 PDF icon Decision (WWOP) PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Landscaping plans
PDF icon Proposed Plants
PDF icon Walnut St 130 - Updated Plans Oct 2017 Combined.pdf
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Staff Report - Updated
08/03/2018 - 11:35am

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