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
Somerville Ave 765 ZBA 2012-93 Nov 28, 2012 PDF icon SomervilleAve765.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Memo 1.3.13
03/29/2013 - 11:42am
Broadway 77 PB 2014-13 May 21, 2014 PDF icon Broadway77.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 08/28/2014 - 9:52am
Munroe St 77 ZBA 2014-104 Nov 05, 2014 PDF icon Olans PDF icon Staff Report 02/19/2015 - 9:59am
North St 77-83 ZBA 2012-68-E(4/2015) May 06, 2015 PDF icon NorthSt77-83.pdf PDF icon Applicant's Timeline PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Staff Memo 2015.05.14
PDF icon Staff Memo 2015.06.04
06/18/2015 - 10:02am
North St 77-83 ZBA 2012-68 Jan 09, 2013 PDF icon NorthSt77-83.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Plans Revised 10-22-12
PDF icon Plans Revised 2-12-13
PDF icon Staff Report 01.23.13
PDF icon Staff Report 02.28.13
03/21/2013 - 8:58am
McGrath Hwy & Mystic Ave 771 & 240 PB 2013-05 Apr 04, 2013 PDF icon McGrathHwy771 (Combined).pdf PDF icon Plans 2013.02
PDF icon Environmental Report
PDF icon Presentation 2014.08
PDF icon Elevations 2014.08.13
PDF icon Traffic Impact Analysis 9.25.2014
PDF icon Presentation 2014.09
PDF icon Site Plans 9.25.2014
PDF icon Stormwater Management Report
PDF icon Conceptual Floor Plans
PDF icon Building Shadow Analysis
PDF icon Staff Report Oct 15, 2014
PDF icon Staff Report Update Dec 9, 2014
PDF icon Appendix with Updated Conditions
PDF icon Commitment Letter
01/07/2015 - 12:20pm
McGrath Hwy & Mystic Ave 771/779 & 240 PB 2014-31 Jan 08, 2015 PDF icon McGrathHwy771 (Combined Decision).pdf PDF icon Site Plans
PDF icon Architectural Plans
PDF icon Stormwater Management Report
PDF icon Shadow Study
PDF icon Accessiblity Narrative
PDF icon Existing Photos
PDF icon Renderings
PDF icon Expanded Traffic Study
PDF icon Staff Report 02/19/2015 - 9:55am
Somerville Ave 779 ZBA 2013-26 May 01, 2013 PDF icon SomervilleAve779.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 11/20/2013 - 1:51pm
McGrath Hwy & Cross St East 779 & 240 PB 2013-18 Nov 07, 2013 PDF icon McGrathHwy779.pdf PDF icon Plans/Narrative PDF icon Staff Report 01/06/2015 - 2:17pm
Bay State Ave 78 ZBA 2015-21 May 06, 2015 PDF icon BayStateAve78.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 05/12/2015 - 3:30pm
Bonair 78 ZBA #2016-115 Nov 02, 2016 PDF icon Decision 09/17/2018 - 5:25pm
Thurston St 79 ZBA 2015-42 Aug 05, 2015 PDF icon ThurstonSt79.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 08/20/2015 - 9:01am
Benton 79 ZBA 2016-54 Aug 03, 2016 PDF icon BentonRd79.pdf PDF icon Benton Rd 79 - Final Plans.pdf PDF icon Benton Rd 79 - Staff Report.pdf 09/17/2018 - 4:50pm
Bow St 79 ZBA2009-06 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Broadway 79-83 PB2010-05 05/20/2010 - 7:10am

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