City of Somerville Seeking Members for Boards and Commissions

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Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, Somerville Historic Preservation Commission, and Urban Design Commission are accepting applications through August 21

SOMERVILLE, MA — The City of Somerville is seeking to fill vacancies on essential boards and commissions appointed by the Mayor and coordinated by the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development. All new board and commission members must be approved by the City Council. Boards and commissions offer an opportunity for community members with a range of experience, skills, expertise, and perspectives to share their talents and insights with their community. Applications for open positions will be accepted through 7 p.m. on Friday, August 21, 2020.

There are currently 11 open opportunities, as follows:

Planning Board
Open Position: One full member position
Term: 3 years
Availability: Immediate

The City seeks a Somerville resident with an interest in the implementation of SomerVision goals, including job creation, development of market rate and affordable housing, and the advancement of open space and multi-modal transportation strategies. A background in architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, urban planning, and/or land use law is beneficial but not required. Applicants should be prepared to provide constructive input into zoning amendments and development proposals including multiple large-scale developments in the City.

The Planning Board is established to review long-term and large-scale planning throughout the city. It is tasked with approving and implementing the SomerVision Comprehensive Plan, and it grants special permits for development projects in key transformational areas. The Planning Board also provides recommendations to the City Council on amendments to the Somerville Zoning Ordinance. The Planning Board typically meets two Thursday evenings per month at 6 p.m.

Applicants are encouraged to submit a resume, cover letter, and any relevant supplemental materials by email to planning@somervillema.gov. Questions may also be submitted to planning@somervillema.gov. A stipend is provided for this position.

Zoning Board of Appeals
Open Positions: Two alternate member positions
Term: 5 years
Availability: Immediate

The City seeks Somerville residents for the Zoning Board of Appeals who have an interest in successful design and development of Somerville’s neighborhoods and squares. A background in architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, urban planning, and/or land use law is beneficial but not required. The Zoning Board of Appeals is established to review proposals for most special permits and all variances under the Somerville Zoning Ordinance. The Zoning Board typically meets on the first and third Wednesday of each month at 6 p.m.

The ZBA has full members and alternate members. Alternate members participate in all discussion on items before the Board and vote in the place of full members when full members are absent from a meeting.

Applicants are encouraged to submit a resume, cover letter, and any relevant supplemental material by email to planning@somervillema.gov. Questions may also be submitted to planning@somervillema.gov. A stipend is provided for these positions.

Somerville Historic Preservation Commission
Open Positions: Four alternate member positions
Term: 3 years
Availability: Immediate

The City is seeking four alternate members for the Somerville Historic Preservation Commission (SHPC). The SHPC is charged with protecting and enhancing historic resources in the City of Somerville. The current openings are for candidates with specific expertise: one architect, two Local Historic District residents, and one real estate broker. The SHPC typically meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 6:40 p.m.

The SHPC has four important roles in the city: Reviewing any alterations or repairs to properties in a Local Historic District 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, and any changes in the general arrangement of the building’s features or its architectural details; administering the City’s Demolition Review Ordinance; offering pro bono professional advice, practical information, and pertinent references about materials and techniques used in historic preservation and restoration, including providing technical assistance throughout design and construction; and sponsoring events and activities to highlight the importance of historic resources in Somerville.

The SHPC has full members and alternate members. Alternate members participate in all discussion on items before the commission and vote in the place of full members when full members are absent from a meeting.

Applicants are encouraged to submit a resume, cover letter, and any relevant supplemental material by email to planning@somervillema.gov. Questions may also be submitted to planning@somervillema.gov. These are volunteer positions.

Urban Design Commission
Open Positions: Two full member and two alternate member positions
Term: 5 years
Availability: Immediate

The City of Somerville seeks residents with interest or experience in urban design, community planning, landscape design, or architecture to serve on the Urban Design Commission (UDC). The UDC provides guidance to applicants during the schematic design phase of a development project and assists in the selection of a preferred design. The Commission typically meets twice monthly on Tuesday evenings.

The UDC consists of seven members who serve staggered terms of five years or less, if the appointment comes during an unfulfilled term of a prior member. These positions are for full five-year terms to be appointed by the Mayor and approved by the City Council. Alternate members participate in all discussion on items before the Commission and vote in the place of full members when full members are absent from a meeting.

Applicants are encouraged to submit a resume, cover letter, and any relevant supplemental material by email to planning@somervillema.gov. Questions may also be submitted to planning@somervillema.gov. These are volunteer positions.

The City of Somerville does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, age, national origin, disability or any other protected category. Auxiliary aids and services, written materials in alternative formats, and reasonable modifications in policies and procedures will be provided to qualified applicants and employees with disabilities free of charge, upon request.

Individuals with disabilities who need auxiliary aids and services for effective communication, written materials in alternative formats, or reasonable modifications in policies and procedures in order to access the programs and activities of the City of Somerville or to attend meetings should contact Nency Salamoun at 617-625-6600 x2323 or NSalamoun@somervillema.gov.

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