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 Numbersort descending Case Number First Hearing Date Decisions Other Reports Updated date
Glenwood Rd 116 ZBA 2014-58 Aug 06, 2014 PDF icon GlenwoodRd116.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 03/16/2018 - 10:47am
Holland 116-118 ZBA 2016-05 Jun 08, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/19/2018 - 3:42pm
Summer St 117 ZBA 2017-65 Aug 07, 2019 PDF icon Decision
PDF icon Decision Memo
PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Updated Plan Set
PDF icon Staff Report 09/16/2019 - 4:44pm
Highland Avenue 117-119 ZBA #2016-96 Jan 18, 2017 PDF icon Decision 09/19/2018 - 1:15pm
Highland Avenue 117-119 ZBA 2016-96 Jan 18, 2017 PDF icon Decision 08/06/2018 - 11:23am
Broadway 118-120 PB2016-16 Oct 06, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon drawing set PDF icon Staff Report 08/07/2018 - 8:51am
Broadway 118-120 PB 2012-15 Aug 23, 2012 PDF icon Broadway118-120.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 08/29/2012 - 12:44pm
Broadway 118-120 PB 2016-16 Aug 20, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/18/2018 - 10:32am
College Ave 118-124 ZBA 2018-166 Dec 12, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Staff Report 07/08/2019 - 9:09am
College Ave 118-124 ZBA 2017-88 Oct 04, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Elevations Existing - Proposed Current to Sept 2017
PDF icon Proposed Floor Plans Current to Sept 2017
PDF icon Existing Elevations Current to Sept 2017
PDF icon Site Plan Current to Sept 2017
PDF icon Existing Landscape Plan Current to Sept 2017
PDF icon Proposed Landscape Plan Current to Sept 2017
PDF icon Zoning Data Sheet - Current to Sept 2017
PDF icon Floor Plans - Current to Sept 2017
PDF icon Parking Plan for December 13, 2017
PDF icon Landscape Plan for December 13, 2017
PDF icon Plot Plan - Wet stamped
PDF icon Updated Staff Report for March 21 2018
PDF icon Updated Staff Report for 1-31-2018
PDF icon Staff Report for 12-13-2017
08/03/2018 - 11:26am
College Avenue 118-124 PB 2016-51 Apr 20, 2017 PDF icon Decision (WWOP) 08/06/2018 - 12:03pm
Broadway 1180 ZBA 2005-32-R1-10/2011 Nov 16, 2011 PDF icon Broadway1180 (R-10-2011).pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Parking Impact Assessment Memorandum
PDF icon Staff Report 12/02/2011 - 12:20pm
Central St 119 ZBA 2012-48 Jul 11, 2012 PDF icon CentralSt119.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 08/29/2012 - 12:46pm
College Ave 119 ZBA2000-02-R0108 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
College Ave 119 ZBA2000-02-R0808 05/20/2010 - 7:10am

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