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 ascending Number Case Number First Hearing Date Decisions Other Reports Updated date
Beacon Street 104 ZBA 2016-78 Aug 17, 2016 PDF icon Decision 08/06/2018 - 11:21am
Beacon St 191 ZBA 2015-79-R1-11/16 Feb 04, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/17/2018 - 4:15pm
Beacon St 104 ZBA 2016-78-R1-6-2018 Jul 18, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans for Remand to ZBA July 18 2018
PDF icon Updated plans for Remand to ZBA 2018
PDF icon Remand
PDF icon Staff Report 09/07/2018 - 10:34am
Beacon St 15-17 ZBA2008-56 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Beacon St 45 ZBA 2013-10 Apr 03, 2013 PDF icon BeaconSt45.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 04/09/2013 - 5:03pm
Beacon St 94 ZBA 2014-23 May 07, 2014 PDF icon BeaconSt94.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Photo Sims
PDF icon Staff Report 02/23/2015 - 9:41am
Beacon St 318 ZBA 2013-91-R1(5/2015) Jun 24, 2015 PDF icon BeaconSt318 (WWOP).pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 08/20/2015 - 8:58am
Beacon St 88 ZBA2007-65 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Beacon St 369-371 ZBA 2008-61-R1-3/2012 Apr 18, 2012 PDF icon BeaconSt369-371.pdf PDF icon Order of Remand
PDF icon Drainage Report 3-12-12
PDF icon Drainage Report Plans
PDF icon Staff Report 06/12/2013 - 11:15am
Beacon St 221 ZBA2008-10 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Beacon St 94 ZBA2000-09-R01-08 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Beacon St 292 ZBA 2007-11-R3-7/2015 Sep 16, 2015 PDF icon BeaconSt292.pdf PDF icon Plans 09.2015
PDF icon Plans Previously Approved
PDF icon Staff Report 09/30/2015 - 1:45pm
Beacon St 94 ZBA 2012-75 Oct 03, 2012 PDF icon BeaconSt94.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Photo Simulations
PDF icon Staff Report 03/21/2013 - 4:58pm
Beacon St 266 ZBA 2014-61 Aug 06, 2014 PDF icon BeaconSt266.pdf PDF icon Plans 2014.08.15
PDF icon Parking Study
PDF icon Plans 2014.09.10
PDF icon Staff Report 2014.08.14
PDF icon Staff Report 2014.08.28
PDF icon Staff Report 2014.09.11
PDF icon Memo 2014.09.17
10/03/2014 - 11:48am
Beacon St 260 ZBA 2014-63 Aug 06, 2014 PDF icon BeaconSt260.pdf PDF icon Plans 2014.08.15
PDF icon Environmental Cleanup Proposal
PDF icon Parking Study
PDF icon Plans 2014.09.10
PDF icon Staff Report 2014.08.14
PDF icon Staff Report 2014.08.28
PDF icon Staff Report 2014.09.11
PDF icon Memo 2014.09.17
10/03/2014 - 11:48am


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