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
Broadway 1234-1236 ZBA 2014-74 Nov 05, 2014 PDF icon Broadway1234-1236.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 02/23/2015 - 9:26am
Highland Ave 124 ZBA 2018-93 Aug 22, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans July 2018
PDF icon Updated Plans July 2019
PDF icon Traffic/Parking Study 2019
PDF icon Updated Plan Set for 9-18-2019 ZBA
PDF icon Updated Traffic Study for 9-18-2019
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report for Sept 18, 2019
10/01/2019 - 2:52pm
Heath St 124 ZBA 2018-148 Dec 12, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Updated Plans
PDF icon Plans for 2-20-2019
PDF icon Updated plans for March 6, 2019 ZBA
PDF icon Staff Report 03/12/2019 - 1:36pm
Broadway 1244 ZBA 2018-135 Mar 06, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 10-19-18
PDF icon Plan Set 2-11-19
PDF icon Staff Report 03/12/2019 - 12:05pm
Broadway 125 PB 2013-19 Nov 07, 2013 PDF icon Broadway125.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 11/19/2013 - 10:14am
Lowell Street 125 ZBA 2018-89 Aug 22, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon initial drawing set
PDF icon revised drawing set
PDF icon transportation fact sheet
PDF icon stormwater report
PDF icon staff report
PDF icon revised staff report
PDF icon Planning Board presentation
10/16/2018 - 3:49pm
Broadway 1252 ZBA 2018-38 Jul 12, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Plan Set - Updated July 2018
PDF icon Plan Set - Updated October 2018
PDF icon Plan Set - Updated for Nov 28 2018
PDF icon Plans for 2-20-2019 ZBA
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report for 2-20-2019
03/12/2019 - 1:44pm
Pearl Street 126 ZBA 2019-46 Jun 19, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 6-5-19 PDF icon Staff Report 07/24/2019 - 9:16am
Orchard St 126 ZBA2009-12 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Highland Ave 129-129R ZBA 2012-45 Jul 11, 2012 PDF icon HighlandAve129-129R.pdf PDF icon Plans 6-26-12
PDF icon Plans 7-25-12
PDF icon Plans 8-28-12
PDF icon Plans 9-27-12
PDF icon Staff Report 10/26/2012 - 9:07am
Pinckney 13 ZBA 2017-63 Sep 06, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon application
PDF icon sketch layout
PDF icon certificate of occupancy
PDF icon Staff Report 10-4-17 08/07/2018 - 12:13pm
Elmwood St 13 ZBA 2012-73 Sep 19, 2012 PDF icon ElmwoodSt13.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09.13.12
PDF icon Staff Report 09.27.12
10/26/2012 - 9:11am
Lee St 13 ZBA 2017-78 Sep 06, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 08/06/2018 - 12:23pm
Quincy 13 ZBA 2018-156 Feb 20, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 03/19/2019 - 12:27pm
Dell Street 13 ZBA 2016-141 Jan 18, 2017 PDF icon Decision 08/03/2018 - 11:37am

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