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All businesses located within the special improvement district (Downtown Somerville) are required to appear before the Architectural Review Board for a recommendation of approval if they want to add any exterior signage to their place of business.

Applications and a copy of the sign ordinance may be found here:

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FAQs

Q.

I am starting a business in Somerville. What licenses do I need?

A.

It depends on the type of business that is being started. Please call the Department of Community Development for more specific information (see contacts page for full listing).

Q.

How do I know if the type of business I want to open is permitted?

A.

It is against the law to operate a business without the required Zoning Permit. It is strongly advised that, before purchasing a property with the intention of establishing a specific type of business, or before establishing any business anywhere in the Borough, you check with the Community Development Office for more information (see contacts page for full listings).

Q.

I am a business owner, where do I park?

A.

Parking is available in the municipal lots located in and around the Downtown Core. Pay stations are located in each lot and make it convenient to pay once per day. The best option is to park in lot #7, which is located on East High Street. Parking in lot #7 costs 50 cents an hour and is free on Saturdays and Sundays. Lots #1, #2, and #6 are the next best option, and each cost 75 cents an hour and are free on Sundays. Meters on Main Street have a two hour limit and should be reserved for shoppers.

Q.

How do I apply for signage for my business?

A.

All businesses located within the special improvement district (Downtown Somerville) are required to appear before the Architectural Review Board for a recommendation of approval if they want to add any exterior signage to their place of business. This also includes A frame sandwich board signs and any exterior painting. The ARB consists of a member of the Zoning Board of Adjustment, a member of the Planning Board and a member of the Downtown Somerville Alliance. The Director of Community Development and the Executive Director of the Downtown Somerville Alliance also attend. If the ARB recommends your signage for approval, the application is then submitted to the Somerville Planning Board for final approval before a permit will be issued. For more information please contact the DSA or Office of Community Development (see contacts page for full listing).

Q.

What is the Downtown Somerville Special Improvement District?

A.

The Downtown Somerville Special Improvement District is a designated zone within which services are provided above and beyond the level offered by local government. Through this mechanism, property owners decide what kind and what level of downtown management services they need, and exert direct control over the delivery of those services.

Q.

Why does Downtown Somerville need coordinated management and marketing services?

A.

Suburban properties, including office parks and shopping malls, are developed, managed, and marketed by a single ownership group or management company. By contrast, ownership of downtown buildings and land is divided among over 200+ individuals and companies with no coordinated management to advocate for their interests, provide common services, or promote the downtown as a product and destination.

The Downtown Somerville Improvement District works to meet the expectation that owners have for a safe, vibrant, diverse and economically successful district. As directed by the owners, it does this by accomplishing such tasks as providing enhanced cleaning, maintenance beautification, training, promoting downtown as a destination, and gathering and disseminating pertinent data on downtown’s progress.

Q.

How do I know when the Downtown Somerville Alliance or its committees meet?

A.

The DSA Board of Trustees meets the second Tuesday of every month at 8 am. Board meetings are held in council chambers at the Somerville Police Station located at 24 South Bridge Street.

Committee meetings are usually held in a downtown business or Borough Hall. For updated meeting times, please email the DSA office at info@downtownsomerville.com.

Q.

Are the board meetings open to the public?

A.

Yes.

Q.

How does one become a DSA board member?

A.

Members of the Downtown Somerville Alliance Board of Trustees are appointed by the Somerville Mayor and Council with a recommendation from the DSA. To be considered for a position on the DSA Board, please forward your statement of interest and resume to Beth Anne Macdonald at bmacdonald@somervillenj.org.

Q.

Who do I contact if I am a business owner who would like to list a business event on this website?

A.

For business listings on this website, contact Anna Diaz via e-mail at adiaz@somervillenj.org . All events must be submitted one month in advance of the date of the event in order to be placed on this website as an event listing. Please be prepared to e-mail information regarding the events name, location, time, a description of the event, cost of the event, a contact phone number and/or e-mail address and any other pertinent information regarding your event. Your event listing will then be submitted for approval. You will receive an approval or denial of the event within one week of your submission. Submission of your event, regardless of type or cause, does not ensure placement on the website.


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