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 ascending First Hearing Date Decisions Other Reports Updated date
Eastman Rd 21 DRA2020-0011 Mar 11, 2020 PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Updated Drawings April 2021
04/26/2021 - 11:02am
McGrath Hwy 15 DRA#2020-0334 Sep 30, 2020 PDF icon Decision PDF icon McGrath Hwy 15 - Drawings.pdf
PDF icon McGrath Hwy 15 - Application Materials.pdf
PDF icon Staff Memo 05/11/2021 - 3:01pm
Medford St 374a DRA#2020-0134 Aug 19, 2020 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Staff Memo 09/09/2020 - 7:04pm
Beacon St 175 DRA#2020-0016 Jan 22, 2020 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans 02/18/2020 - 11:44am
Elm St 54 DRA 2020-0325 Nov 18, 2020 PDF icon Staff Memo 12/17/2020 - 9:58am
Hawkins St 3 DRA 2020-0018 Mar 11, 2020 PDF icon Hawkins 3 - Variance Application.pdf 03/25/2020 - 9:05am
Central St 76-82 DRA #2020-0277 Nov 05, 2020 PDF icon Decision (Use Special Permit)
PDF icon Decision (Minor Site Plan Approval)
PDF icon Transportation Impact Study
PDF icon Transportation Access Plan
PDF icon Drawings
PDF icon Narrative
PDF icon Staff Memo 02/16/2021 - 12:49pm
Middlesex Ave 74 DRA #2020-0162 Apr 30, 2020 PDF icon Decision
PDF icon MMP Final Decision
PDF icon MPSP – Original Submission – 041420
PDF icon MSMP - MMP Certification - 060420
PDF icon MSMP - MMP Final Decision - 060420
PDF icon Response to Engineering Comments - 052120
PDF icon Response to PSUF Comments - 052120
PDF icon Block and Lot Plan
PDF icon Staff Memo
PDF icon PSUF Comments - 050420
PDF icon Engineering Comments - 050520
PDF icon Staff Report - June 11
07/01/2020 - 10:13am
Powder House Blvd 255 CZC21-000032 Apr 28, 2021 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Approved Plans PDF icon Staff Memo 05/11/2021 - 4:23pm
Union Square 71-72 CZC2020-00039 Apr 01, 2021 PDF icon Minor Site Plan Approval
PDF icon Site Plan Approval and Special Permit
PDF icon Approved Drawings
PDF icon Narrative
PDF icon Transportation Access Plan
PDF icon Transportation Impact Study
PDF icon Drawings
PDF icon Meeting Reports
PDF icon Staff Memo
PDF icon Supplemental Staff Memo
05/11/2021 - 4:26pm
Fremont 0 CZC2020-000006 Mar 31, 2021 PDF icon Special Permit PDF icon Landscape
PDF icon Narrative
PDF icon Drawings
PDF icon Staff Memo 05/11/2021 - 3:39pm
Somerville Ave 379 CZC20-000104 Apr 08, 2021 PDF icon UDC Recommendation PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Transportation Access Plan
PDF icon Sustainability Narrative
PDF icon Passive House Certification
PDF icon Stormwater Management Report
PDF icon Updated Plans 2021 06 02
PDF icon Staff Memo 06/02/2021 - 2:00pm
Broadway 872 CZC20-000086 Mar 23, 2021 PDF icon UDC Recommendation 04/21/2021 - 2:47pm
Elm St 255 CZC20-000085 Apr 15, 2021 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Narrative and Drawings
PDF icon Transportation Impact Statement
PDF icon Transportation Impact Statement Appendix
PDF icon Transportation Access Plan
PDF icon Updated Drawings
PDF icon Staff Memo 05/11/2021 - 4:24pm
Elm St 240 CZC20-000073 Apr 15, 2021 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Drawings
PDF icon Transportation Impact Study
PDF icon Transportation Access Plan
PDF icon Narrative
PDF icon Staff Memo 05/11/2021 - 4:24pm

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