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
Aberdeen Road 9-11 ZBA 2014-123 Jan 21, 2015 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan PDF icon Memo - new zoning analysis
PDF icon Staff Report
08/09/2018 - 5:25pm
Dresden Crl 9-11 ZBA 2015-47 Aug 05, 2015 PDF icon DresdenCircle9-11.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 08/20/2015 - 9:00am
Harvard Pl 9-11 ZBA2009-04 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Aberdeen Rd 9-11 ZBA 2014-123 Jan 21, 2015 PDF icon AberdeenRd9-11.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Memo - new zoning analysis
02/23/2015 - 9:16am
Aldersey St 9-11 ZBA 2003-25 Dec 16, 2020 PDF icon Remand Plan Set 12/11/2020 - 11:06pm
Morrison Avenue 90 ZBA 2019-35 May 15, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plot Plan 6-25-18
PDF icon Dormer Plan 3-25-19
PDF icon Dormer Plan 5-8-19
PDF icon Staff Report 06/24/2019 - 11:50am
Washington St 90 ZBA 2013-41 Aug 21, 2013 PDF icon WashingtonSt90(Stamped).pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Stormwater Management Report
PDF icon Traffic Impact and Assessment Report
PDF icon Traffic Impact and Assessment Report Appendices
PDF icon Parking Memo
PDF icon Renderings
PDF icon Traffic Report updated
PDF icon Plans 9-18-2013
PDF icon Parking Memo-updated
PDF icon Updated Plans
PDF icon Staff Report 8-29-2013
PDF icon Staff Report 9-26-2013
PDF icon Alternative Parking Design
PDF icon Plans
07/29/2014 - 8:50am
Bartlett Street 90 ZBA 2017-131 Jan 17, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 6-28-17 PDF icon Staff Report 08/07/2018 - 8:57am
Washington St 90 ZBA 2013-41-E1-6/2015 Jul 15, 2015 PDF icon WashingtonSt84-90.pdf PDF icon Staff Report 07/28/2015 - 10:26am
Broadway 906-908 ZBA 2015-32-E1-10/17 Nov 08, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Broadway 906-908 - Staff Report - ZBA 2015-32-E1-10-2017 Time Extension.pdf 08/07/2018 - 12:55pm
Broadway 906-908 ZBA 2015-32 Jul 09, 2015 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans 06.2015
PDF icon Plans 07.2015
PDF icon Plans 10.06.2015
PDF icon Plans 10.26.2015
PDF icon Plans 11.12.2015
PDF icon Staff Report 07.09.2015
PDF icon Staff Report 09.10.2015
PDF icon Staff Report 10.15.2015
PDF icon Staff Report 10.29.2015
PDF icon Staff Report 11.12.2015
08/06/2019 - 10:56am
Perkins Street 91 ZBA 2017-115 Jan 17, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 1-11-18 PDF icon Staff Report 08/07/2018 - 8:56am
Perkins Street 91 ZBA 2013-03 Mar 06, 2013 PDF icon PerkinsSt91.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Plot plan
PDF icon Staff Report 03/21/2013 - 8:59am
Rogers Avenue 91-93 ZBA #2017-03 Jan 26, 2017 PDF icon Decision 08/06/2018 - 11:27am
Rogers Avenue 91-93 ZBA 2017-13 Mar 15, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 3-1-17 PDF icon Staff Report 08/06/2018 - 11:34am

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