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.

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 Number First Hearing Datesort ascending Decisions Other Reports Updated date
Prospect St 109-111 ZBA 2018-139 Dec 12, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set Memo
PDF icon Plan Set 10-4-2018
PDF icon Plan Set for 2-6-2019 ZBA
PDF icon Plan Set for 2-20-2019 ZBA
PDF icon Plot Plan
PDF icon Staff Report 03/12/2019 - 1:28pm
Oak St 43-45 ZBA 2016-89-R1-(11/14) Dec 12, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Staff Report 12/26/2018 - 1:47pm
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
Elmwood Street 17 ZBA 2018-125 Dec 12, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 8-23-18
PDF icon Survey 5-8-18
PDF icon Staff Report 02/12/2019 - 9:09am
College Ave 118-124 ZBA 2018-166 Dec 12, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Staff Report 07/08/2019 - 9:09am
Mystic Ave 654 ZBA 2018-167 Dec 12, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set approved for building permit PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report 1-7-19
01/30/2019 - 2:40pm
Montgomery Avenue 7 ZBA2015-98-R1-1018 Dec 12, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon cover letter
PDF icon site plan (BP)
PDF icon constructed photos
PDF icon violation
PDF icon MontgomeryAve7_Revision-StaffReport-121218.pdf 12/26/2018 - 11:12am
McGrath Highway 1 ZBA 2018-138 Dec 12, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Narrative of changes
PDF icon Architectural Plans 9-27-18
PDF icon Civil Plans 9-26-18
PDF icon Staff Report 03/12/2019 - 12:11pm
Sewall Street 47 ZBA 2018-154 Dec 12, 2018 PDF icon Decision 07/08/2019 - 9:07am
Otis 28 ZBA 2018-145 Dec 12, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set - Initial Submission PDF icon Staff Report 02/12/2019 - 9:08am
Roland Street / Inner Belt Rd 56 / 0 & 20 PB 2018-18 Nov 29, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Subdivision Plan 10-10-18 PDF icon Staff Report 12/12/2018 - 11:13am
Prescott Street 57 ZBA 2018-150 Nov 28, 2018 PDF icon Corrected Decision PDF icon Plan Set 10-17-18
PDF icon Plan Set 12-06-18
PDF icon Staff Report 09/02/2020 - 9:39am
Oxford Street 134-136 ZBA 2018-155 Nov 28, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 10-10-18 PDF icon Staff Report 12/12/2018 - 10:18am
Dimick Street 68 ZBA 2018-151 Nov 28, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 10-24-18
PDF icon Accessibility Narrative 10-25-18
PDF icon Plan Set 1-16-19
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
02/12/2019 - 9:09am
Pearson Avenue 68 ZBA 2018-134 Nov 28, 2018 PDF icon Pearson Ave 68-70.pdf PDF icon Plan Set 9-10-18 PDF icon Staff Report 12/04/2018 - 1:06pm

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