Design Review

Design review is required by Article 15 of the Somerville Zoning Ordinance for any development proposal that requires Site Plan Approval. The public meeting where design review occurs happens prior to the submittal of a development review application and the intent of design review is to provide Applicants with advice and recommendations during the schematic design phase of the design process.

Conceptual Design > Schematic Design > Design Development > Construction Documents

Design Review Meetings

Design review is conducted at a public meeting of the Urban Design Commission. Applicants are required to submit plans and illustrations in advance of the meeting and provide an overview presentation to the Commission at the meeting. Presentations are limited to no more than twenty (20) minutes. Plans and illustrations must be submitted by 4:30PM seven (7) calendar days prior to the meeting date.

submittal requirements (interim, until further notice)

Plans and illustrations must be provided on 11”x17” landscape-oriented pages that include the following:

  1. A concise written narrative describing how the proposed building fits within and contributes to the immediately surrounding built context, the sustainability objectives for the building, and, if applicable, any approach to historic preservation.
  2. Three (3) viable schematic massing concepts (buildings under 6 stories excluded) illustrated in axon and perspective views.
  3. Three (3) viable schematic facade design concepts illustrated in elevation, including details of the building base.
  4. Any additional diagrams illustrating proposed satisfaction of the design guidelines applicable to the development proposal.

The Commission will review the plans and illustrations submitted prior to the meeting. Following the presentation by the Applicant at the meeting, the Commission will:

  1. Identify priority design guidelines applicable to the development proposal;
  2. Identify a preferred schematic design recommended for advancement through design development from options presented by the Applicant; 
  3. Provide advice and recommendations concerning the satisfaction of design standards and guidelines applicable to the development proposal; and
  4. Identify any outstanding concerns and provide advice and recommendations on how a development proposal affects the quality of Somerville’s public realm.

Within forty-five (45) days after the meeting, the Commission provides a written recommendation to the Applicant and the Somerville Planning Board concerning the development proposal.

The Urban Design Commission

The Urban Design Commission (UDC) consists of designated and appointed members from the professional design community of Somerville. 

Current MEMBERS:

Sarah Lewis, Co-Chair, Director of P&Z, RA, LEED AP, CNUa
Luisa Oliveira, Co-Chair,  Director of PSUF, ASLA
Frank Valdez, AIA, LEED AP
Deborah Fennick, AIA, LEED AP 
Andrew Arbaugh, PLA, ASLA

View the UDC’s current adopted Rules of Procedure & Policy HERE.

Meeting Minutes & Materials

05-26-2020 EDGE Assembly Submittal
05-26-2020 EDGE Assembly Presentation 
05-26-2020 Meeting Minutes
06-16-2020 EDGE Assembly Submittal
06-16-2020 EDGE Assembly Presentation 
06-16-2020 Meeting Minutes


EDGE Assembly Commercial Building