About ISD

Important Updates

Notice of Permit Tolling and Lifting of COVID State of Emergency (PDF)

As of February 16, 2021 a “Building Permit Submittal Checklist” is required to be completed and uploaded to the permit file along with all of the required documents per the checklist for the application to be considered complete.

Per the State and City announcements as of May 29, 2021 safety plans addressing Covid-specific hazards will no longer be required as part of the building permit application. The City is evaluating making detailed site-specific safety plans a permanent requirement for building permit applications in the future. An announcement will be made prior to implementation.

Starting May 29, 2021, per Ordinance 2021-09, a completed construction safety affidavit will be required to be submitted as part of the permit application. A copy of the construction safety affidavit is available here.

Beginning July 1, 2020, a 0.35% safety review and inspection fee with a minimum fee of $100.00 will be assessed to all new building permit applications.

Electrical, plumbing, and gas subcontractors working for a general contractor with an approved safety plan and building permit are not subject to a separate fee.

Permits for electrical, plumbing and gas work that is not associated with a building permit will be charged a $25.00 safety review and inspection fee for each permit.

Plumbing, gas, and electrical contractors may in the alternative submit annual safety plans for work not associated with a building permit.  These plans will be kept on file and used when performing safety inspections.  The fee for filing an annual electrical, plumbing, and gas safety plan will be $250.



Permitted construction is able to commence/recommence under the conditions that a sufficient Jobsite Hazard Analysis (JHA), Site Specific Safety Plan (SSSP), and other safety documentation with a particular focus on COVID safety in accordance with state and federal guidelines on COVID spread prevention is provided to and approved by ISD. All other pre-COVID conditions and requirements remain in full force and effect. 

Examples of a JHA and SSSP can be found in the ISD Contractor Safety Package available here.

Ensure a JHA and SSSP are uploaded to the General Contractor’s primary building permit in Citizenserve, or if there is none, to the individual permit application (i.e. Electric, Gas, or Plumbing permit):

Required measures for safety documentation include but are not limited to the following:

  • All workers on the site must wear clean face coverings, masks, or face shield which cover their nose and face, unless unable due to a medical condition or is otherwise exempted by Department of Public Health guidance.
  • A sign-in/sign-out log must be maintained for all persons on site (including deliveries).
  • Hand tools are not to be shared
  • Limit the number of people that reside in different locations traveling in the same vehicle
  • Sanitization procedures and handwashing availability
  • Social Distancing
  • Site Health Checks and/or Self-Health-Certification Checks prior to shift
  • Limiting individuals present at time of inspection if practical

As an alternative to a physical sign-in sheet as well as a self-certification form, you can use an electronic version that will be logged with ISD.

Food Service

  • In addition to takeout and delivery services, restaurants may reopen for indoor and outdoor dining with additional safety measures.
  • Grocery stores, convenience stores and “corner” stores are allowed to remain open and shall practice social distancing requirements to the fullest extent possible
  • No non-prepackage self-service food is allowed for purchase i.e. salad bars, olive bars, etc.



The Inspectional Services Department (ISD) ensures the safety of residents and community members by enforcing city ordinances and state and federal codes relating to building construction and public health.

  • Divisions

  • Key Licenses & Permits

  • Building Division

    The Building Division provides permitting, plan review, and related resources to ensure compliance with the Massachusetts State Building Code and Somerville Zoning Ordinance.

  • Health Division

    The Health Division provides residents and community members with high quality education, code enforcement, emergency services, and support to improve health and safety in the City.

  • Weights and Measures

    The Weights and Measures Division enforces all State laws and regulations having to do with weights and measures, such as check-out scanners, taximeters, gasoline pumps, and supermarket scales.


Please note: If you would like to apply for a parking permit, visit the ParkSomerville page.


Applications for permits and licenses are now being accepted online through our CitizenServe portal. There, you can apply for a variety of City permits, including:

Home- and Property-Owner Permits 

  • Building Permits
  • Demolition Permits
  • Driveway/Curb Cut Permits
  • Occupancy Licenses
  • Tree Removal Permits and Waivers
  • and more

Health License and Permits 

  • Dumpster Licenses
  • Dumpster Hauler Licenses
  • Food Establishment Licenses
  • Pool Licenses
  • Body Art Licenses
  • Electrical Licenses
  • Farmers Market Licenses
  • Occupancy Licenses
  • Tanning Licenses
  • Temporary Food Permit Licenses
  • and more

Alcohol/Restaurant Licenses

  • Restaurants (with alcohol)
  • Common Victualers (restaurants without alcohol)
  • Private Clubs
  • Farmer Pourers (breweries, distilleries, wineries)
  • Inns
  • Educational Institutions
  • Package Stores
  • Entertainment (without on-premise food service)
  • ...and Amendments to these licenses, and
  • Special Alcohol Licenses
  • Special Farmer Wineries at Farmers Markets
  • and more

Business Licenses

  • Garages for Auto Repairs and Parking
  • Used Car Dealers
  • Drain Layers
  • Extended Operating Hours (after midnight)
  • Outdoor Seating or Goods on Public sidewalks
  • Hawker Peddlers
  • Junk Dealers
  • Signs and Awnings
  • Grants of Location
  • Public Events
  • Raffles and Bazaars
  • and more

Marijuana Establishment Licenses

  • Marijuana Retailer
  • Marijuana Cultivator
  • Craft Marijuana Cooperative
  • Marijuana Product Manufacturer
  • Independent Testing Laboratory
  • Marijuana Research Facility
  • and more



If you are not able to apply by using your computer, please visit the appropriate department in person:

and Health Licenses and Permits
Business Licenses Alcohol/Restaurant Licenses

Inspectional Services Division
1 Franey Rd.
Somerville, MA 02145

City Clerk's Office
93 Highland Ave.
Somerville, MA 02143

Licensing Commission
93 Highland Ave.
Somerville, MA 02143