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 ascending Case Number First Hearing Date Decisions Other Reports Updated date
Beacon St 120 ZBA 2012-104 Jan 23, 2013 PDF icon BeaconSt120.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 03/29/2013 - 11:02am
Middlesex Ave 120 MP#2020-0003 Nov 04, 2020 PDF icon Decision (Hardship Variance)
PDF icon Decision (Stamped Hardship Variance)
PDF icon Decision (Stamped MPSP)
PDF icon MMP Approval
PDF icon MPSP Application Appendix
PDF icon MPSP Application
PDF icon Hardship Variance Application
PDF icon Staff Memo (MPSP)
PDF icon Staff Memo (Hardship Variance)
05/12/2021 - 10:26am
Washington St 120 ZBA 2015-11 Apr 01, 2015 PDF icon WashingtonSt120.pdf PDF icon Plan PDF icon Staff Report 07/09/2015 - 6:55pm
Albion Pl 12-14 ZBA2008-42 PDF icon Albion Place 12-14.pdf PDF icon PB Recommendation
PDF icon Staff Report
06/01/2010 - 8:58am
Albion Pl 12-14 ZBA2008-42 Sep 17, 2008 PDF icon Decision PDF icon PBReport
PDF icon Staff Report
09/11/2018 - 1:08pm
Marshall St 12-14 ZBA2008-36 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Governor Winthrop Rd 12 ZBA2009-41 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Berkeley St 12 ZBA 2015-86 Nov 04, 2015 PDF icon BerkeleySt12 (#ZBA 2015-86).pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 11/16/2015 - 2:53pm
Warwick Street 12 ZBA 2016-105 Nov 02, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/21/2018 - 10:10am
Gilman Terrace 12 ZBA 2014-44 Jun 18, 2014 PDF icon GilmanTerr12.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/27/2014 - 11:20am
Avon St 12 ZBA 2018-96 Aug 22, 2018 PDF icon Decision (WWOP) PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Plans - Updated for Aug 22, 2018
PDF icon Staff Report 09/04/2018 - 3:19pm
Linden Place 12 ZBA 2017-129 Jan 31, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon drawing set PDF icon Staff Report 08/07/2018 - 8:55am
Aldersey St 12 ZBA 2019-80 Aug 30, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Updated plans for September 18 2019 ZBA
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
10/01/2019 - 2:55pm
Prospect Hill Ave 12 ZBA2009-62 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
College Hill Road 12 ZBA 2017-22 Apr 19, 2017 PDF icon Decision 08/06/2018 - 12:08pm

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