Members Sought for Cambridge Board of Zoning Appeal

Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale is seeking persons interested in serving on the Cambridge Board of Zoning Appeal (BZA) to potentially fill either full member position(s) and/or associate member position(s). BZA members must be residents of the City of Cambridge. Women, minorities, and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply. It is a City of Cambridge goal to expand and deepen community engagement with a focus on strengthening the diversity and inclusion of its various boards and commissions.   

Made up of five members and up to seven associate members, the Board of Zoning Appeal reviews applications for special permits and applications for variances from the terms of the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance, in accordance with M.G.L. c.40A and the Zoning Ordinance. The BZA also hears and decides appeals of orders and determinations made by the Commissioner of the Inspectional Services Department pursuant to M.G.L. c.40A, §8 and the Zoning Ordinance. Additionally, the BZA reviews applications for comprehensive permits, pursuant to M.G.L. c.40B. In evaluating applications and petitions, the Board conducts public hearings and votes on the application or petition’s conformance with the provisions of the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance.

The Board of Zoning Appeal meets twice each month on Thursday evenings for approximately 3-4 hours. Until further notice, all board and commission meetings are being held virtually via the Zoom platform. The Board of Zoning Appeal is subject to the Massachusetts Open Meeting Law, M.G.L. c.30A, §§18-25, and all deliberations of the Board occur at public meetings. The meetings are also audio recorded and may be video recorded. As part of their time commitment, Board members are expected to review application and petition materials prior to each meeting. Materials may include development plans, impact studies, narrative descriptions, provisions of the Zoning Ordinance, information from city departments, written comments from the public, and other documents.

Ideal candidates would possess the ability to participate in a collaborative process, work with other Board members to consider diverse ideas, apply the provisions of the Zoning Ordinance to the facts presented in applications and petitions, and reach a decision. Members should also have strong attentiveness and listening skills. While there is no requirement for a technical background, interest and understanding of development, architecture, urban design, and zoning is desirable.

Individuals interested in being considered should apply by using the city’s online application system at and finding “Board of Zoning Appeal” in the list of Current Vacancies. A cover letter and résumé or summary of applicable experience can be submitted during the online application process. Paper applications are available in the City Manager’s office at Cambridge City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Avenue. The deadline for submitting applications is January 31, 2022.

Page was posted on 12/30/2021 11:46 AM
Page was last modified on 12/30/2021 11:46 AM
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