About the Zoning Board of Appeals

The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) as a quasi-judicial body charged under the provisions of Chapter 40A of the Massachusetts General Laws. The ZBA is the Special Permit Granting Authority for:

  • Variances
  • Special Permit Applications, including Special Permits with Design Review and Special Permits with Site Plan Review
  • Appeals by aggrieved parties of administrative or enforcement decisions
  • Comprehensive Permit Petitions (MGL Chapter 40B)

 

  • Notes for Applicants

  • Board Members

  • Reports & Decisions

Development Review Standards:

  • Please be advised that, per the standards set out in Article 15 of the Somerville Zoning Ordinance, a development review application is not complete until all required community and Design Review meetings have been held, all necessary information has been submitted, and all fees have been paid. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed, will not be publicly noticed, and will not be scheduled for a public hearing.
  • Planning staff will work with applicants to discuss meeting dates and review application materials.
  • Applications for large projects may require a longer review period and evaluation by multiple City departments before being deemed complete and scheduled for a public hearing.
  • Planning staff reserves the right to ask for additional information or to change meeting dates.
  • The list of anticipated public meeting dates for this Board can be found here.

Orsola Susan Fontano, Chair

Orsola Susan Fontano is a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals and also volunteers with the Elections Department, the Council of Aging, and the Art's Council. Some of her past affiliations include the Historic Preservation Commission, member of the award-winning Somerville All-American City delegation, and founding president of East Somerville Main Streets. She is self-employed, operating Up, Up & Away balloons since 1981 and managing her sister business Nefertiti Hair Salon since 1977.

Danielle Fillis Evans, Clerk

Danielle Fillis Evans holds a master’s degree in Urban and Environmental policy and planning from Tufts University and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and has served on the ZBA since 2008. She has worked as a planner in several municipalities in Massachusetts and currently manages the Community Preservation Act program for the City of Medford.

Elaine Severino

Elaine Severino is a former educator and small business owner. She spent 5 years serving on the Zoning Task Force Committee that rewrote the previous Somerville Zoning laws and has served in the Zoning Board of Appeals for over 15 years. She is also a member of the Somerville Garden Club and dedicated to helping create better green spaces in Somerville.

Josh Safdie

Josh Safdie, AIA, NCARB, is a Principal at KMA, an architecture and consulting practice. He serves as the co-chair of the Access Committee for the Boston Society of Architects and has received awards from the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board and the Boston Preservation Alliance for projects merging preservation and accessibility. He is also an Associate Professor at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and a contributor to Architecture Boston magazine.

Anne Brockelman

Anne Brockelman, AIA, LEED AP BD+C is an architect with two decades of experience in the design profession. She is an Associate Principal and Director of Sustainable Design at Perry Dean Rogers Partners Architects (PDR), a full-service architectural firm specializing in cultural and institutional projects, with a focus on higher education. Her diverse experience includes all project phases from planning, programming through construction, and various project types such as campus and facilities master plans, libraries, and academic buildings. Ms. Brockelman graduated from Wesleyan University with a B.A. in Art History and Studio Art, and holds a Master of Architecture from Harvard University's Graduate School of Design.

Katherine Garavalgia, Alternate

 

Reports and Decisions

PLEASE NOTE: Applications made before April 15, 2011 are not included in this listing and can be found by clicking here.

Street Number Case Numbersort descending First Hearing Date Decisions Other Reports Updated date
Broadway 328 PB 2015-04 Jun 25, 2015 PDF icon Broadway328.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Plans 7.9.2015
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Staff Report 7.9.2015
07/28/2015 - 10:30am
Grand Union Boulevard 625 PB 2015-06 May 28, 2015 PDF icon GrandUnionBlvd625.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/18/2015 - 10:10am
Assembly Row Block 9 9 PB 2015-07 Jun 25, 2015 PDF icon ASQBlock9 (Combined).pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 07/28/2015 - 10:32am
Union Sq 92 PB 2015-08 Aug 06, 2015 PDF icon UnionSq92.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 08/20/2015 - 9:04am
Union Sq 31-33 PB 2015-09 Aug 06, 2015 PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 08.2015
PDF icon Staff Report 09.2015
09/03/2015 - 1:27pm
Washington St 197 PB 2015-11 Oct 22, 2015 PDF icon WashingtonSt197 (WWOP).pdf PDF icon Plan
PDF icon Transportation Memo
PDF icon Staff Report 11/02/2015 - 12:58pm
Washington St 197 PB 2015-12 Dec 10, 2015 PDF icon Plan
PDF icon Attachments
PDF icon Transportation Memo
PDF icon Staff Report 12/04/2015 - 12:17pm
Somerville Ave 444 PB 2015-53 Aug 20, 2015 PDF icon 444 Somerville Ave.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 08/21/2015 - 10:48am
McGrath 434 PB 2016- Jul 08, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Staff Report 09/20/2018 - 1:25pm
Assembly Row Block 11 Daycare (251 Grand Union Blvd) 11 PB 2016-02 Feb 18, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon F-I Civil Plans Final small.pdf PDF icon Staff Report 09/17/2018 - 1:21pm
Washington St 181 PB 2016-03 Mar 03, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/21/2018 - 10:16am
Mystic Ave 654 PB 2016-05 Apr 07, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/20/2018 - 5:28pm
Union Sq 2 PB 2016-07 Jun 08, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Union Sq 2 - Partners Urgent Care - Updated Staff Report.pdf 09/21/2018 - 10:06am
Somerville Avenue 337 PB 2016-09-R1-0317 Aug 09, 2017 PDF icon Decision 10/29/2020 - 10:57am
Somerville Ave 337 PB 2016-09-R2-11/20 Dec 17, 2020 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Narrative (Updated) PDF icon Staff Memo - Feb 3 02/16/2021 - 12:48pm

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