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 descending Decisions Other Reports Updated date
Morgan Ave 0 PB 2019-23 Nov 21, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 01/15/2020 - 8:54am
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
Jaques Street 87 ZBA 2019-82 Dec 11, 2019 PDF icon Updated Plan Set PDF icon Updated Staff Report 12/06/2019 - 12:51pm
Clarendon Hill 00 ZBA 2019-115 Dec 11, 2019 PDF icon Project Narrative
PDF icon Plan Set 10-7-19
PDF icon Traffic Study 9-19
10/31/2019 - 10:51am
Woods Ave 75-77 ZBA 2019-126 Dec 11, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Woods Ave 75-77 - Plans (POST).pdf PDF icon Woods Ave 75-77 - Staff Report.pdf 01/08/2020 - 4:31pm
Medford St 345 ZBA 2019-108 Dec 11, 2019 PDF icon Plans PDF icon Medford St 345 - Staff Report (POST).pdf 12/10/2019 - 9:53am
Highland Avenue 20 ZBA 2019-118 Dec 11, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set 10-3-19 PDF icon Highland Ave 20 - Staff Report (POST).pdf 12/10/2019 - 9:22am
Jacques Street 87 ZBA 2019-82 Dec 12, 2019 PDF icon SomervilleAve337Unit2-StaffReport_121219.pdf 12/06/2019 - 8:48am
Somerville Avenue 337 ZBA 2019-26 Dec 19, 2019 PDF icon 19069_377 Somerville Ave_ZBA Submission_102219_stamped.pdf PDF icon SomervilleAve337Unit2-StaffReport_121219.pdf 12/10/2019 - 12:36pm
Beacon St 175 DRA#2020-0016 Jan 22, 2020 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans 02/18/2020 - 11:44am
Mossland St 15 ZBA 2018-124-R1 Feb 05, 2020 PDF icon Plan Set PDF icon Staff Report 01/31/2020 - 1:29am
Somerville Ave 515 AA2020-0001 Feb 26, 2020 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Staff Report 06/03/2021 - 2:36pm
Somerville Ave 453 ZBA #2019-114-R1 12/19 Mar 11, 2020 PDF icon Decision PDF icon April 8 Drawings
PDF icon April 30 Drawings
PDF icon June 10 Drawings
PDF icon March 4 Staff Report
PDF icon Views
PDF icon April 9 Staff Report
PDF icon May 6 Staff Report
PDF icon June 10 Staff Report
10/07/2020 - 9:59am
Eastman Rd 21 DRA2020-0011 Mar 11, 2020 PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Updated Drawings April 2021
04/26/2021 - 11:02am
Hawkins St 3 DRA 2020-0018 Mar 11, 2020 PDF icon Hawkins 3 - Variance Application.pdf 03/25/2020 - 9:05am

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