Vacancies to be filled on Design Review, Historic Preservation, Affordable Housing and Fair Housing Commissions

SOMERVILLE – The City of Somerville is seeking to fill vacancies on four essential Boards that are appointed by the Mayor and coordinated by the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development. The Mayor’s office will be accepting applications for positions on these boards through November 25, 2013.

Each of these opportunities will allow for a Somerville resident to provide voluntary service to improve the city and guide policies, programs and the design of the Somerville community in forthcoming years.

There are four opportunities, as follows:

1. Design Review Committee

The DRC is an advisory committee to the Somerville Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals in all areas of the City. The DRC will review an application at the request of Planning Staff, the Planning Board, or Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), for any such application that may be requiring zoning relief before these Boards. The DRC plays a key role in providing constructive input towards improving proposed development projects before they enter the public hearing process before either the Planning Board or ZBA. The DRC typically meets the fourth Thursday of each month at 6:30 pm. Appointments are for a period of two years.
The City seeks a Somerville resident with experience in architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, or urban planning to sit on the Design Review Committee. Applicants should be prepared to provide creative input in project design, be able to problem-solve with applicants, and think comprehensively about how development contributes to the future of Somerville. Applicants must have strong communication skills, the ability to convey design concepts in critique-like format, and urban design experience with compact, walkable, transit-oriented, and mixed-use neighborhoods. Applicants in a design field are encouraged to provide their own work samples with their application.

2. Somerville Historic Preservation Commission
The Somerville Historic Preservation Commission (SHPC) is charged with protecting and enhancing historic resources in the City of Somerville. The SHPC seeks candidates with an interest in historic preservation, and prefers applicants with a background in architecture, architectural history, historic preservation, urban planning, and/or building trades. The SHPC encourages residents of current Local Historic Districts (LCDs) to apply. The SHPC typically meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 6:40 pm. The SHCP also has subcommittees that occasionally meet to discuss and implement specific objectives of the Commission. Appointments are for a period of three years.

The SHPC has four important roles in the City of Somerville: a. )The SHPC reviews any alterations or repairs to properties in a Local Historic District (LHD) that are visible from a public way and that would result in an irreversible change in the design, materials, or outward appearance of the structure. It also reviews any changes in the general arrangement of the building’s features or its architectural details, such as the arrangement of windows or doors. b) The SHPC administers the City’s Demolition Review Ordinance. This ordinance affects properties built fifty (50) or more years ago and that are not already designated as part of a Local Historic District. c) The SHPC offers pro bono professional advice, practical information, and pertinent references about materials and techniques used in historic preservation and restoration, and provides technical assistance throughout design and construction. d) The SHPC sponsors events and activities to highlight the importance of historic resources in the City of Somerville.

3. Somerville Affordable Housing Trust Fund

The Somerville Affordable Housing Trust Fund (SAHTF) was established by City Ordinance in 1989. Its purpose is to preserve and create affordable rental and homeownership units in Somerville and carry out programs to directly assist homeowners and renters. All of its activities must benefit low to moderate-income households. The Board of Trustees for the SAHTF is composed of nine members who fulfill certain roles, and are appointed by the Mayor, subject to approval by the Board of Aldermen. The Board of Trustees currently has one vacancy that must be filled by a representative of a Somerville non-profit organization whose primary mission is affordable housing. In making an appointment, the Mayor and BOA must also insure that the composition of the Board of Trustees reflects the geographic and ethnic mix of the City. Appointments are for a period of three years and the Board of Trustees meets monthly.
4. Fair Housing Commission

The Fair Housing Commission was established by City Ordinance in 1985. Its purpose is to receive complaints about possible fair housing violations and provide assistance and referrals, undertake activities to improve the understanding of fair housing laws in the city, and undertake activities that minimize discrimination in housing. The Fair Housing Commission is composed of five members who fulfill certain roles, and are appointed by the Mayor, subject to approval by the Board of Aldermen. The Fair Housing Commission currently has one vacancy that must be filled by a tenant who, at the time of his or her appointment, is eligible on the basis of income for assisted housing in the city. Appointments are for a period of three years and the Fair Housing Commission meets monthly.
Applicants are encouraged to submit a resume and cover letter, as well as any relevant supplemental material by email to: Applicants are asked to indicate with their application the committee or committees on which they would like to serve.



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