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
Jaques St 83 ZBA 2014-30 May 07, 2014 PDF icon JaquesSt83.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/27/2014 - 11:29am
Broadway 83-91 PB 2014-15 Jun 19, 2014 PDF icon Broadway83-91.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 08/28/2014 - 9:53am
Franklin St 84 ZBA 2017-50 Jan 31, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Franklin St 84 - Plans for January 31 2018
PDF icon Franklin 84 - Existing Plot Plan.pdf
PDF icon Franklin St 84 - Updated Combined Plan Set for 3-7-2018
PDF icon Franklin St 84 - Updated Plans for April 4 2018
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Staff Report - Updated for 3-7-2018
PDF icon Staff report for April 4 2018
08/03/2018 - 11:30am
Thurston St 84 ZBA 2016-153 Feb 01, 2017 PDF icon Plans 09/20/2018 - 7:32pm
Franklin St 84 ZBA 2017-50-R1-08-18 Apr 03, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Memo PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report for May 1 2019
05/22/2019 - 10:49am
Washington St 84 & 90 PB 2013-03 Apr 04, 2013 PDF icon WashingtonSt84&90.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 04/11/2013 - 10:10pm
McGrath Hwy 844 PB 2014-10 May 08, 2014 PDF icon McGrathHwy844.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Photo Sims
PDF icon Staff Report 06/27/2014 - 11:27am
McGrath Hwy 844 PB2009-14 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
McGrath Hwy 844 ZBA2008-49 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
McGrath Hwy 844 PB2001-80-R0408 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
McGrath Hwy 844 PB 2012-10 Jul 11, 2012 PDF icon McGrathHwy844.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Photo Simulations
PDF icon Staff Report 08/29/2012 - 12:44pm
McGrath Highway 845 PB2017-27-EXT1 Mar 26, 2020 PDF icon Decision 04/07/2020 - 9:29am
McGrath Hwy (PUD) 845 PB 2017-27 Jan 04, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Application package
PDF icon impervious clarification
PDF icon response to questions
PDF icon memo to T&I
PDF icon air quality report
PDF icon design guidelines
PDF icon Preliminary Staff Report - prior to testimony
PDF icon Revised staff report with conditions
PDF icon Staff Memo
PDF icon Staff Memo
02/21/2020 - 12:12pm
McGrath Hwy (SPSR) 845 PB2018-09 May 15, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Application package
PDF icon Architectural & landscape
PDF icon Civil plans
PDF icon Shadow study
PDF icon Sustainability
PDF icon Property documentation
PDF icon Air quality report
PDF icon Utility analysis
PDF icon Affordable housing
PDF icon Geotechnical report
PDF icon Revised Shadow Study
PDF icon Revised Sustainability
PDF icon Revised Property Documentation
PDF icon Revised Air Quality
PDF icon Revised PUD Decision
PDF icon Revised Utility Analysis
PDF icon Revised Affordable Housing
PDF icon Revised Geotechnical
PDF icon Revised Mobility Management
PDF icon Revised Bike Infrastructure
PDF icon Revised Submittal Package
PDF icon Revised Architectural Plans
PDF icon Revised Civil Plans
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Findings & Conditions
08/03/2018 - 11:24am
Munroe 85 ZBA 2019-45 Nov 06, 2019 PDF icon Plot Plan
PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Updated Plans
PDF icon Munroe St 85 - Updated plans for Dec 11 2019 [POST].pdf
PDF icon Munroe St 85- Staff Report.pdf 12/09/2019 - 10:31am

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