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 Number First Hearing Datesort ascending Decisions Other Reports Updated date
Central St 51 ZBA 2017-36-R1-02/21 Apr 14, 2021 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Narrative PDF icon Staff Memo 04/29/2021 - 7:10pm
Medford Street 35 CZC21-000071 Apr 13, 2021 PDF icon Decision 07/07/2021 - 2:38pm
Somerville Ave 379 CZC20-000104 Apr 08, 2021 PDF icon UDC Recommendation
PDF icon Decision
PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Transportation Access Plan
PDF icon Sustainability Narrative
PDF icon Passive House Certification
PDF icon Stormwater Management Report
PDF icon Updated Plans 2021 06 02
PDF icon Staff Memo 07/14/2021 - 2:06pm
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
Fremont 0 CZC2020-000006 Mar 31, 2021 PDF icon Special Permit PDF icon Landscape
PDF icon Narrative
PDF icon Drawings
PDF icon Staff Memo 05/11/2021 - 3:39pm
Broadway 872 CZC20-000086 Mar 23, 2021 PDF icon UDC Recommendation 04/21/2021 - 2:47pm
Broadway 152-158 CZC #20-000059 Feb 18, 2021 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Drawing Set
PDF icon Sustainability Narrative
PDF icon NM 2020 07 29
PDF icon NM 2020 09 29
PDF icon Application
PDF icon Staff Memo 03/31/2021 - 5:15pm
Hawkins Street 3 CZC20-000060 Feb 17, 2021 PDF icon UDC Recommendation PDF icon Landscape Plans
PDF icon Sustainability Narrative
PDF icon Narrative
PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Revised Plans
PDF icon Staff Memo (Feb 03) 04/13/2021 - 1:57pm
Aldersey St 9-11 ZBA 2003-25 Jan 06, 2021 PDF icon Remand Plan Set
PDF icon Remand Plan Set (updated)
PDF icon Staff Memo
PDF icon Staff Memo (updated)
01/19/2021 - 5:36pm
Somerville Ave 337 PB 2016-09-R2-11/20 Dec 17, 2020 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Narrative (Updated) PDF icon Staff Memo - Feb 3 02/16/2021 - 12:48pm
Somerville Ave 337 ZBA 2016-116-R2-11/20 Dec 16, 2020 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Narrative (Updated) PDF icon Staff Memo - Feb 3 02/16/2021 - 12:49pm
Aldersey St 9-11 ZBA 2003-25 Dec 16, 2020 PDF icon Remand Plan Set 12/11/2020 - 11:06pm
Elm St 54 DRA 2020-0325 Nov 18, 2020 PDF icon Staff Memo 12/17/2020 - 9:58am
Cherry St 21 ZBA#2016-25-R1-11/20 Nov 18, 2020 PDF icon Decision PDF icon May 2017 Decision
PDF icon Cherry St 21 - Final Combined Plan Sets for May 17 2017 ZBA hearing
PDF icon As-Built Survey
PDF icon Amended Plans
PDF icon As-Built Elevations
PDF icon Staff Memo 12/17/2020 - 9:59am
Central St 76-82 DRA #2020-0277 Nov 05, 2020 PDF icon Decision (Use Special Permit)
PDF icon Decision (Minor Site Plan Approval)
PDF icon Transportation Impact Study
PDF icon Transportation Access Plan
PDF icon Drawings
PDF icon Narrative
PDF icon Staff Memo 02/16/2021 - 12:49pm

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