Planning Board

Cambridge Planning Board

About the Planning Board

The Cambridge Planning Board reviews plans and proposals under the Special Permit provisions of the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance and Chapter 40A of the Massachusetts General Laws, proposes or reviews zoning amendments, makes recommendations to the City Council about proposed revisions to the Zoning Ordinance, and engages in general planning efforts to improve the physical environment of the City.

Planning Board Membership

  • Hugh Russell, Chair
  • H Theodore Cohen, Vice Chair
  • Louis J. Bacci, Jr.
  • Steven A. Cohen
  • Catherine Preston Connolly
  • Mary T. Flynn
  • Tom Sieniewicz

One of the two Associate Members of the Cambridge Planning Board vote when one of the full members is absent or unable to vote.

  • Ahmed Nur
  • Thacher Tiffany

Planning Board Rules

The Cambridge Planning Board operates using the following rules.  Among other purposes, these rules outline the procedures for consideration of Special Permits and Zoning Petitions.

Planning Board Rules, adopted March 12, 2013

Planning Board Meetings

The Planning Board usually meets the first and third Tuesday of each month. Meetings are usually held in the Second Floor Meeting Room at 344 Broadway and begin at 7 P.M. The Planning Board meeting dates can be found on the Planning Board Agenda home page and the Citywide Calendar of Events. Please check the agenda for the time and location of particular meetings.


The Planning Board makes available an agenda several days in advance of each meeting. Hearing Notices are posted 2 weeks in advance of the hearing date. Agenda and hearing notices for the current calendar year are found below.


In place of meeting minutes, the Planning Board adopts transcripts of each meeting. Transcripts are usually available 4 weeks after the meeting. Transcripts for the current year are below. Prior transcripts (2009 - 2011) are found in the corresponding page listed to the left. Transcripts prior to 2009 are available by contacting Liza Paden at 617/349-4647 or

Date Agenda Transcripts Hearing Notices (if any)
January 7, 2014 Agenda Transcript 40 Thorndike Street (SP #288)
January 21, 2014 Meeting Cancelled Agenda Items Moved to Feb 11 • 10 Essex Street Hearing (SP #285)
• 75 New Street Hearing (SP #286)
• Chun Zoning Petition Hearing
February 4, 2014 Agenda Transcript
February 11, 2014 Agenda Transcript • 10 Essex Street Hearing (SP #285)
• 75 New Street Hearing (SP #286)
• Chun Zoning Petition Hearing
February 18, 2014 Agenda Transcript
March 4, 2014 Agenda Transcript • Chun Zoning Petition Hearing
• 40 Thorndike Street Hearing cont'd (SP #288) POSTPONED
• Crimson Galleria Hearing (SP #289) POSTPONED
March 18, 2014 Agenda Transcript • Linear Park Zoning Petition Hearing
• Lutz Zoning Petition Hearing
April 1, 2014 Agenda Transcript Chun Zoning Petition Hearing cont'd
• 15-33 Richdale Avenue Hearing (SP#284)
April 8, 2014 Agenda No Transcript Available Continued hearing for 75 New Street, SP# 286 has been postponed due to a quorum issue.
April 29, 2014 Agenda Transcript • 40 Thorndike Street Hearing (SP #288)
May 6, 2014 Agenda Transcript • 1-3 Langdon Street Hearing (SP #290)
• 16-18 Bellis Circle Hearing (SP #291)
• PUD Procedures Zoning Petition Hearing
May 20, 2014 Agenda Transcript
June 3, 2014 Agenda Transcript • Chun Amendment Hearing
June 17, 2014 Agenda Transcript • 180R Cambridgepark Drive Hearing (SP #292) - POSTPONED
Flaherty, et al. Zoning Petition Hearing
July 8, 2014 Agenda Transcript • 180R Cambridgepark Drive Hearing (SP #292)
July 22, 2014 Agenda Transcript • 75 New Street Continued Hearing (SP #286)
• North Point Major Amendment Hearing (SP #179)
July 29, 2014 Agenda Transcript • 40 Thorndike Street Continued Hearing (SP #288)
August 5, 2014 Agenda Transcript Carlone Zoning Petition Hearing Notice
• 303 Third Street Parking Amendment Hearing Notice (SP #189)
• CDD Staff Town Gown Process Memo 
August 12, 2014 Agenda No Transcript ALEWIFE WALKING TOUR: NO FORMAL MEETING
August 19, 2014 Agenda Transcript • North Point Major Amendment Hearing (SP #179)
September 2, 2014 Agenda Transcript • Cambridge Discovery Park Amendment Hearing Notice (SP #198)
September 16, 2014 Agenda Transcript
September 30, 2014 Agenda    • 40 Thorndike Street Continued Hearing (SP #288)

Note location change for this meeting - Kennedy Longfellow School at 158 Spring Street 
October 7, 2014 Agenda • Harvard Kennedy School of Government Hearing (SP #293)
• 88 Cambridgepark Drive Continued Hearing (SP #292)
October 21, 2014 Agenda • North Point Parking Petition Hearing 
• Discovery Park Amendment Hearing (SP #198
October 28, 2014 Agenda
November 18, 2014 Agenda • Flaherty/Medical Marijuana Petition Hearing
• Teague Petition Hearing
November 25, 2014 Agenda • 75 New Street Continued Hearing (SP #286)
• 79 JFK Street Continued Hearing (SP #293)
December 2, 2014 Agenda • 88 Ames Street Hearing (SP #294)
December 16, 2014 Agenda • Walden/Sherman Rezoning Petition
  (Hearing Notice) (More Information)
• Whitehead Institute Rezoning Petition
  (Hearing Notice) (More Information)

Prior Planning Board Agendas, Hearing Notices and Transcripts

Amendments to the Zoning Ordinance

The zoning amendments page lists all amendments to the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance currently under consideration by the City Council and Planning Board as well as those passed or placed on file (expired) since mid-2009.

Special Permits

The Planning Board is the Special Permit Granting Authority for those uses listed as "PB" in the Zoning Ordinance Article 4.000 - Use Regulations. The Planning Board conducts public hearings where applicants present proposals, public testimony is taken and findings are made as to the relief being sought.

Special Permit Pending Applications and Granted Permits

Follow this link to find all special permit applications, supporting documents, hearing notices, and decisions for all applications submitted since the beginning of 2011. For each application you will find information about the proposal, relevant zoning ordinance sections and supporting documentation.

All special permits granted but not built, under construction, or completed since the beginning of 2011 can be found on the Special Permits Interactive Map. Select a permit to learn more and find links to relevant documents.

Locations of all granted Planning Board special permits not later withdrawn are found on the Zoning Viewer maintained by the city's GIS staff.

Special Permit Application Form

Planning Board special permits require the completion of a multi-part application. Follow this link for more information.

Town Gown Reports

For information about and copies of the Town Gown Reports submitted by Cambridge College, Harvard University, Lesley University and MIT, see the Institutional Planning home page.

For More Information

For more information about the Planning Board contact Liza Paden at 617/349-4647 or