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
Wallace Street 76 ZBA 2019-51 Jun 19, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 5-23-19
PDF icon Plan Set 6-13-19
PDF icon Staff Report 07/02/2019 - 11:16am
Cedar St 171 ZBA 2018-191 Jun 19, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set - April 2019
PDF icon Plan Set - Updated August 2019
10/28/2019 - 6:16pm
Vernon St 60 ZBA 2019-38 Jun 19, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set - Initial Submission
PDF icon Updated Plan Set for June 19, 2019 ZBA
PDF icon Staff Report 07/08/2019 - 9:08am
Prospect Street 20 (D2.2) PB 2019-06 Jun 20, 2019 PDF icon Decision (SP)
PDF icon Decision (DSPR)
PDF icon Zoning Compliance 4-30-19
PDF icon Environmental Analysis 4-30-19
PDF icon Mobility Management Plan 4-30-19
PDF icon Plan Set 4-30-19
PDF icon Transportation Access Plan 4-30-19
PDF icon Project Narrative 4-30-19
PDF icon Anticipated Schedule
PDF icon Abramson Memo 5-15-19
PDF icon Planning Director Memo 6-6-19
PDF icon US2 Presentation 6.13.19
PDF icon D2.2 and D2.3 Resiliency Supplement 6-26-19
PDF icon Mobility Management Plan (revised) 7-3-19
PDF icon Updated Plan Sheets 8-9-19
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report rev2
09/10/2019 - 8:25am
Prospect Street 50 (D2.3) PB 2019-07 Jun 20, 2019 PDF icon Decision (SP)
PDF icon Decision (DSPR)
PDF icon Zoning Compliance 4-30-19
PDF icon Environmental Analysis 4-30-19
PDF icon Mobility Management Plan 4-30-19
PDF icon Plan Set 4-30-19
PDF icon Transportation Access Plan 4-30-19
PDF icon Project Narrative 4-30-19
PDF icon Anticipated Schedule
PDF icon Abramson Memo 5-15-19
PDF icon Planning Director Memo 6-6-19
PDF icon US2 Presentation 6.13.19
PDF icon D2.2 and D2.3 Resiliency Supplement 6-26-19
PDF icon Mobility Management Plan (revised) 7-3-19
PDF icon Updated Plan Sheets 8-9-19
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report rev2
09/10/2019 - 8:25am
Prospect Street 10-50 (Civic Plaza) PB 2019-05 Jun 20, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Zoning Compliance 4-30-19
PDF icon Environmental Analysis 4-30-19
PDF icon Plan Set 4-30-19
PDF icon Project Narrative 4-30-19
PDF icon Abramson Memo 5-15-19
PDF icon Planning Director Memo 6-6-19
PDF icon US2 Presentation 6.13.19
PDF icon Updated Plan Sheets 7-1-19
PDF icon US2 Presentation 7-11-19
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Revised Staff Report 8-14-19
PDF icon Updated Staff Report 8-22-19
09/10/2019 - 8:26am
Oak Street 7 ZBA 2019-01 Jul 17, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 1-2-19
PDF icon Accessibility Letter 1-2-19
PDF icon Sustainability
PDF icon Plan Set 3-13-19
PDF icon Plan Set 5-24-19
PDF icon Plan Set 7-29-18
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
08/12/2019 - 4:16pm
Henderson St 42 ZBA 2018-189 Jul 17, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Updated Plan Set for August 21, 2019
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
08/26/2019 - 7:35pm
Summer Street 36-38 ZBA 2019-56 Jul 17, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 5-30-19
PDF icon Accessibility Letter 5-12-19
PDF icon Staff Report 07/24/2019 - 9:17am
Myrtle Street 54 ZBA 2019-53 Jul 17, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 5-16-19 PDF icon Staff Report 07/24/2019 - 9:18am
Summer St 137 ZBA 2019-40 Jul 17, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set for August 7 2019
PDF icon Updated Plan Set for August 21, 2019 ZBA
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
10/16/2019 - 2:29pm
Rush St 20-24 ZBA 2016-140-R1-5-2019 Jul 17, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set PDF icon Staff Memorandum 07/18/2019 - 7:26pm
Rossmore Street 11 ZBA 2019-41 Jul 17, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 4-17-19
PDF icon Plan Set 6-27-19
PDF icon Landscape Plan 8-7-19
PDF icon Plan Set 8-7-19
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
08/22/2019 - 4:47pm
Bow 23A ZBA 2019-47 Jul 17, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 07/18/2019 - 5:15pm
Adams Street 65-69 ZBA 2019-64 Aug 07, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 6-13-19
PDF icon Plan Set 7-29-19
PDF icon Staff Report 08/12/2019 - 4:13pm

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