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
Josephine 89 2016-109 Oct 19, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Staff Report 09/20/2018 - 12:12pm
Holland St 89 ZBA 2011-94 Feb 29, 2012 PDF icon HollandSt89.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Parking Memorandum
PDF icon Staff Report 03/16/2012 - 10:57am
Broadway 893 ZBA 2015-116 Feb 03, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/18/2018 - 11:40am
Broadway 893 ZBA 2015-116 Feb 03, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/18/2018 - 11:47am
Broadway 898 ZBA 2015-108 Jan 20, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/18/2018 - 12:08pm
Broadway 898 ZBA 2019-12 Mar 20, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 2-2-19 PDF icon Staff Report 03/26/2019 - 3:09pm
Sanborn Court 9 PB 2019-24 Nov 21, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Existing Floor Plan
PDF icon Proposed Floor Plan
PDF icon Cover Letter
01/08/2020 - 3:44pm
Wilton Street 9 ZBA 2017-97 Oct 18, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 9-12-17 PDF icon Staff Report 08/07/2018 - 12:14pm
Sanborn Court 9 PB 2019-17 Aug 08, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Seating Plan 4-19-19
PDF icon Plot Plan 6-5-19
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
08/23/2019 - 9:32am
Assembly Row Block 9 9 PB 2015-07 Jun 25, 2015 PDF icon ASQBlock9 (Combined).pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 07/28/2015 - 10:32am
Belmont Sq 9 ZBA2008-63 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Richardson Street 9 ZBA 2017-16 Apr 05, 2017 PDF icon Decision 08/06/2018 - 12:09pm
Adelaide Road 9 ZBA 2017-17 May 03, 2017 PDF icon Plan Set 1-18-17 08/07/2018 - 1:20pm
Montgomery St 9 ZBA 2014-119 Mar 04, 2015 PDF icon MontgomeryAve9.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 03/18/2015 - 1:21pm
Kingman Road 9 ZBA 2012-107 Dec 24, 2012 PDF icon KingmanRd9.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Plot plan
PDF icon Staff Report 07/08/2013 - 10:42am

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