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.

Streetsort descending Number Case Number First Hearing Date Decisions Other Reports Updated date
Summer St 346 ZBA 2015-85 Oct 21, 2015 PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Plans 11/18/2015 Updated
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Staff Report 11/18/2015 Updated
11/16/2015 - 8:41am
Summer St 271 ZBA 2012-41 Jun 06, 2012 PDF icon SummerSt271.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 08/02/2012 - 12:19pm
Summer St 343, 345, 349, & 351 ZBA 2011-54 Aug 24, 2011 PDF icon SummerSt343.pdf PDF icon Plans 6-24-11
PDF icon Traffic Impact Assessment
PDF icon Construction Management Plan
PDF icon ASTM Screen 3-20-02
PDF icon Prelim Site Assessment 4-19-02
PDF icon Subsurface Exploration 9-23-02
PDF icon ASTM Screen 7-26-07
PDF icon Phase 1 Environ. Assessment 6-30-09
PDF icon Phase 1 Environ. Assessment 7-13-09
PDF icon Subsurface Investigation 7-15-10
PDF icon Staff Report - 8/19/11
PDF icon Environmental Consultant Peer Review Report 8/19/11
PDF icon Staff Report - 9/1/11
PDF icon Drainage Report 2/2011
PDF icon Memo to ZBA re Revised Plans 9-30-11
PDF icon Revised Plans 9-30-11
PDF icon Revised Plans 11-18-11
PDF icon Staff Report 12-1-11
PDF icon ZBA Memo 12-5-11
PDF icon DRC 11-22-11
01/04/2012 - 11:09am
Summer St 143 ZBA 2011-78 Nov 02, 2011 PDF icon SummerSt143 _WWOP_.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 12/16/2011 - 11:28am
Summer St 252 ZBA 2012-79 Oct 17, 2012 PDF icon SummerSt252.pdf PDF icon Plot Plan
PDF icon Site Plans
PDF icon Staff Report 10/26/2012 - 9:07am
Summer St 111 ZBA 2018-171 Jan 23, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Updated Plan Set
PDF icon Plan Set - Updated for May 1, 2019 ZBA
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Staff Report- Updated for May 1, 2019
05/22/2019 - 10:49am
Summer St 1 ZBA2008-43 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Summer St 227A ZBA #2015-60 Sep 16, 2015 PDF icon SummerSt227A.pdf PDF icon Planning Staff Report 09/30/2015 - 1:56pm
Summer St 377 ZBA 2015-27 Jul 15, 2015 PDF icon SummerSt377.pdf PDF icon Plan 07.02.2015
PDF icon Plan 07.30.2015
PDF icon Staff Report 07.09.2015
PDF icon Staff Report 07.30.2015
08/20/2015 - 9:02am
Summer St 336 ZBA 2013-39 Aug 07, 2013 PDF icon SummerSt336.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Staff Report updated for 8-21-2013
PDF icon Plans updated for 8-21-2013
PDF icon Utility plans
PDF icon Staff Report 11/19/2013 - 10:23am
Summer St 62C ZBA 2012-88 Dec 12, 2012 PDF icon SummerSt62C.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 01/03/2013 - 10:06am
Summer St 62B ZBA2009-58 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Summer St 73 ZBA 2012-91 Dec 12, 2012 PDF icon SummerSt73.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Memo 1.3.13
03/29/2013 - 11:43am
Summer Street 36-38 ZBA 2019-56 Jul 17, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 5-30-19
PDF icon Accessibility Letter 5-12-19
PDF icon Staff Report 07/24/2019 - 9:17am
Summer Street 7 ZBA 2018-107-R1-5/19 Jun 05, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 5-1-19 PDF icon Staff Report 07/02/2019 - 11:07am


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