Somerville Residents Voice Concerns Over Local Development and Planning Processes

Amid the growing development concerns in Somerville, residents have voiced their apprehensions regarding the town’s planning and zoning procedures during a recent Planning Board meeting. High among the community’s concerns is a new building constructed on the corner of Davenport and High Street, which, due to its height, is considered out of place and a potential precedent for future development along High Street. The residents fear that without proper control, High Street might soon mirror the densely built-up Main Street. In response, the Planning Board clarified that the building’s approval falls within the Zoning Board’s jurisdiction and that any requests for deviations from the standard building requirements are to be presented to the Zoning Board. Furthermore, the Planning Board assured residents that they are working on addressing master plan zoning and redevelopment plans and acknowledged the urgency to act promptly.

The community’s unease extends beyond specific buildings to the broader planning process, with calls for more public involvement and transparency. Residents expressed a need for an advisory committee that would allow them to provide input on various community issues, including drugs, alcohol, and firearms. The Planning Board recognized the importance of public participation and confirmed that upcoming planning sessions would include public meetings with professionals hired to address the town’s planning and development concerns.

During the meeting, questions were also raised regarding how existing structures and businesses would be affected by new master plans and zoning regulations. The board clarified that current structures and pre-existing non-conforming businesses are “grandfathered in,” meaning they are not required to conform to new standards or reapply for permits, even with changes in zoning. This protection underscores the board’s emphasis on understanding the distinct roles of the borough council, the planning board, and the zoning board, which are all governed by state law. The board encouraged residents to become familiar with these relationships and the statutory regulations that guide them.

The Planning Board’s responses aimed to provide guidance and reassurance about the structured approach to planning and development, which includes adherence to state laws and a commitment to thoroughness and transparency. The resident’s concerns about staying informed and the process for submitting input led to the board’s assurance that all emails sent to the Planning Board become part of the official record and are disseminated to the entire board for consideration.


Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Brian Gallagher
Planning Board Officials:
Bernard Navatto, Laurence Cleveland, Roger Vroom, Deirdre Rosinski, Lisa Werner, Al Kerestes, Andrea Adair, Jason Kraska, Christopher Adickes, Arthur Akins, Jenna LaRusso (Planning and Zoning Board Secretary), Kara Kaczynski (Board Attorney), Michael Cole (Board Planner and Engineer)

Receive debriefs about local meetings in your inbox weekly:

Trending meetings
across the country:

Meeting Date
Filter by bodytypes
Agricultural Advisory Committee
Airport Advisory Board
Art and Culture Board
Beach Committee
Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee
Board of Elections
Board of Health
Borough Council
Building Committee
Cannabis Control Board
Cemetery Commission
Charter Revision Commission
Child and Family Services Board
City Council
City Identity Committee
Code Enforcement Board
College Board of Trustees
Community Appearance Board
Community Preservation Committee
Community Redevelopment Agency
County Council
Disability Advisory Committee
Economic Development Board
Elderly Affairs Board
Electric Advisory Board
Environmental Commission
Financial Oversight Board
Historic Preservation Commission
Housing Authority
Human Relations Committee
Insurance Fund
Land Use Board
Library Board
Licensing Board
Mental Health Commission
Municipal Alliance
Open Space Commission
Oversight and Review Committee
Parking Authority
Parks and Gardens Commission
Parks Commission
Pension Board
Planning Board
Planning Board,Zoning Board
Police Review Board
Property Assessment Board
Public Safety Committee
Recreation Commission
Redevelopment Agency
Rent Leveling Board
School Board
Sewerage Authority
Shade Tree Commission
Special Magistrate
Taxation & Revenue Advisory Committee
Tourism Board
Trails Committee
Transportation Board
Utility Board
Value Adjustment Board
Veterans Committee
Water Control Board
Women's Advisory Committee
Youth Advisory Committee
Zoning Board
Filter by County
Bay County
Bradford County
Brevard County
Broward County
Clay County
Duval County
Escambia County
Gulf County
Highlands County
Hillsborough County
Indian River County
Lake County
Lee County
Leon County
Levy County
Liberty County
Manatee County
Marion County
Martin County
Miami-Dade County
Monroe County
Okaloosa County
Orange County
Osceola County
Palm Beach County
Pasco County
Pinellas County
Polk County
Putnam County
Santa Rosa County
Sarasota County
Seminole County
St. Johns County
Taylor County
Volusia County
Walton County
Barnstable County
Berkshire County
Bristol County
Essex County
Franklin County
Hampden County
Hampshire County
Middlesex County
Norfolk County
Plymouth County
Suffolk County
Worcester County
Atlantic County
Bergen County
Burlington County
Camden County
Cape May County
Cumberland County
Essex County
Gloucester County
Hudson County
Hunterdon County
Mercer County
Middlesex County
Monmouth County
Morris County
Ocean County
Passaic County
Somerset County
Sussex County
Union County
Warren County
Filter by sourcetypes