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 Number Case Number First Hearing Date Decisions Other Reports Updated datesort descending
Bow 23A ZBA 2019-47 Jul 17, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 07/18/2019 - 5:15pm
Rush St 20-24 ZBA 2016-140-R1-5-2019 Jul 17, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set PDF icon Staff Memorandum 07/18/2019 - 7:26pm
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
Summer Street 36-38 ZBA 2019-56 Jul 17, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 5-30-19
PDF icon Accessibility Letter 5-12-19
PDF icon Staff Report 07/24/2019 - 9:17am
Myrtle Street 54 ZBA 2019-53 Jul 17, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 5-16-19 PDF icon Staff Report 07/24/2019 - 9:18am
Prospect Street 10 (D2.1) PB 2019-04 Apr 04, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Zoning Compliance (initial submittal)
PDF icon Environmental Analysis (initial submittal)
PDF icon Mobility Management Plan (initial submittal)
PDF icon Plan Set (initial submittal)
PDF icon Transportation Access Plan (initial submittal)
PDF icon Zoning Compliance (revised 3-26-19 submittal)
PDF icon Plan Set (revised 3-26-19 submittal)
PDF icon Transportation Access Plan (revised 3-26-19 submittal)
PDF icon Project Narrative
PDF icon Anticipated Schedule
PDF icon Abramson Memo 5-15-19
PDF icon Planning Director Memo 6-6-19
PDF icon US2 Presentation 6.13.19
PDF icon Resiliency Supplement 6-18-19
PDF icon Final Mobility Management Plan Decision
PDF icon Facade Updates 7-2-19
PDF icon US2 Planning Board Update 7-11-19
PDF icon Preliminary Staff Report
PDF icon Staff Report
07/25/2019 - 3:23pm
Prospect Street 10-50 (Alley) PB 2019-03 Apr 04, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Thoroughfare Plan Set 2-13-19
PDF icon Thoroughfare Plan Set 4-16-19
PDF icon Abramson Memo 5-15-19
PDF icon Planning Director Memo 6-6-19
PDF icon Staff Report 07/25/2019 - 3:23pm
Prospect Street 10-50 (subdivision) PB 2019-02 Mar 21, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Subdivision Plan 2-8-19
PDF icon Revised Subdivision Plan 3-13-19
PDF icon Staff Report 07/25/2019 - 3:23pm
Broadway 906-908 ZBA 2015-32 Jul 09, 2015 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans 06.2015
PDF icon Plans 07.2015
PDF icon Plans 10.06.2015
PDF icon Plans 10.26.2015
PDF icon Plans 11.12.2015
PDF icon Staff Report 07.09.2015
PDF icon Staff Report 09.10.2015
PDF icon Staff Report 10.15.2015
PDF icon Staff Report 10.29.2015
PDF icon Staff Report 11.12.2015
08/06/2019 - 10:56am
Pennsylvania Avenue 45-47 ZBA 2019-71 Aug 07, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 7-17-19 PDF icon Staff Report 08/12/2019 - 4:12pm
Whitman Street 30-32 ZBA 2019-59 Aug 07, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 7-19-19 PDF icon Staff Report 08/12/2019 - 4:12pm
Adams Street 65-69 ZBA 2019-64 Aug 07, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 6-13-19
PDF icon Plan Set 7-29-19
PDF icon Staff Report 08/12/2019 - 4:13pm
Beacon Street 260 ZBA 2019-75 Aug 07, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Signage 5-22-19
PDF icon Floor Plans 6-14-19
PDF icon Staff Report 08/12/2019 - 4:13pm
Clifton Street 9 ZBA 2019-57 Aug 07, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 7-22-19
PDF icon Plan Set 7-24-19
PDF icon Plan Set 7-30-19
PDF icon Staff Report 08/12/2019 - 4:14pm
Dartmouth Street 17 ZBA 2019-63 Aug 07, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 3-31-19
PDF icon Plot Plan 5-24-19
PDF icon Staff Report 08/12/2019 - 4:14pm

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