Design review is required by Article 15 of the Somerville Zoning Ordinance for any application for development review and the intent of design review is to provide Applicants with advice and recommendations during the schematic design phase of the design process.proposal that requires Site Plan Approval. The public meeting where design review occurs happens prior to the submittal of a
Conceptual Design > Schematic Design > Design Development > Construction Documents
Design Review Meetings
Design review is conducted at a public meeting of the Urban Design Commission. Generally, meetings are scheduled for the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of every month. 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.
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 via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
UDC Submittal RequirementsPlans and illustrations must be provided on 11”x17” landscape-oriented pages.
|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||A concise written narrative summarizing the conclusions of the required Civic Space Study and describing how the proposed civic space enhances the existing City open space network, addresses open space needs of the immediate neighborhood, and the anticipated use by the community. The narrative should outline the proposed civic space program(s) and features, sustainability objectives, including urban forestry and ecosystem services benefits, and any applicable approach to historic preservation.||TBD|
|Three (3) viable schematic massing concepts (buildings 6 stories or less are excluded) illustrated in axon and perspective views||A larger context plan showing the surrounding neighborhood including neighborhood open spaces, both public and private; significant buildings; major roads; transportation connections; and natural features|
|Three (3) viable schematic facade design concepts illustrated in elevation, including details of the building base||A site analysis that considers environmental conditions including, but not limited to, solar aspect (including changes that any building would create), drainage, existing vegetation, topography, noise, screening, etc.|
|Any additional diagrams illustrating proposed satisfaction of the design guidelines applicable to the development proposal||An explanation of the design processes and design decisions the team has gone through, including design concepts/options that were considered before the arrival of the schematic design|
|Illustrative landscape plans that identify the design intent, location and layout of planting, paving, and other landscape materials and furnishings. Plan must include lot lines, frontage area, setbacks, easements applicable to site and be shown at an appropriate scale (1”=10’ recommended.)|
|Illustrative sections or perspectives to help visualize the proposed Civic Space|
|Illustrated or visual site furnishing list including signage, lighting, site furnishings, pavement types, and other special site features|
|Any additional diagrams illustrating the satisfaction of the design guidelines applicable to the development proposal|
Design RecommendationsThe Commission will review the plans and illustrations submitted prior to the meeting. Following the presentation by the Applicant at the meeting, the Commission will:
|Identify design guidelines from the Somerville Zoning Ordinance (SZO) that are a priority for the proposed building||Identify design guidelines from the Somerville Zoning Ordinance (SZO) that are a priority for the proposed civic space|
|Identify a preferred schematic design from options presented by the Applicant that is recommended for advancement through design development||Provide advice and recommendations on the proposed schematic design to inform advancement through design development and address achievement of the Public Space & Urban Forestry Division's goals for public space in Somerville|
|Provide advice and recommendations concerning the satisfaction of design standards and guidelines from the Somerville Zoning Ordinance for the proposed building||Provide advice and recommendations concerning the satisfaction of design standards and guidelines from the Somerville Zoning Ordinance for the proposed civic space|
|Identify any outstanding concerns and provide advice and recommendations on how the proposed building affects the quality of Somerville’s public realm||Identify any outstanding concerns and provide advice and recommendations on how the proposed civic space affects the quality of Somerville’s public realm|
The Urban Design Commission
The Urban Design Commission (UDC) consists of designated and appointed members from the professional design community of Somerville.
Sarah Lewis, Co-Chair, Director of P&Z, RA, LEED AP, CNUa
Luisa Oliveira, Co-Chair, Director of PSUF, ASLA
Frank Valdes, AIA, LEED AP
Deborah Fennick, AIA, LEED AP
Andrew Arbaugh, PLA, ASLA
Tim Talun, AIA
View the UDC’s current adopted Rules of Procedure & Policy HERE.