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)
  • Members

  • Reports & Decisions

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.

Drew Kane, Alternate

Drew is currently the Senior Land Use Planner with the City of Cambridge Community Development Department. Prior to the City of Cambridge, he spent 15 years as a consultant in architecture and planning firms in Atlanta, New York and Boston. Most recently, he was a Senior Urban Planner and Associate at Utile, Inc., a multi-disciplinary architecture and planning firm in Boston.. 

With a professional focus on the regeneration of urban environments, Drew's areas of expertise includes streetscape and public realm design, master planning and regulatory development with particular interest in waterfronts and industrial districts. 

Drew received a Master of City and Regional Planning from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Bachelor’s of Art in Art History from the University of Georgia.

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
Middlesex Ave 5 PB2018-07-MA2-0320 Apr 23, 2020 PDF icon XMBLY-PUDrev-032410_AppA.pdf
PDF icon XMBLY-PUDrev-032420_AppB (Compress).pdf
PDF icon XMBLY-PUDrev-032410_AppC.pdf
PDF icon XMBLY-PUDrev-032420_AppDFG.pdf
PDF icon XMBLY-PUDrev-032410_03.pdf
PDF icon XMBLY-PUDrev-032420_00-02.pdf
PDF icon XMBLY-PUDrev-032420_04-06.pdf
PDF icon XMBLY-PUDrev-032410_AppE-1.pdf
PDF icon XMBLY-PUDrev-032410_AppE-2.pdf
03/26/2020 - 1:36pm
McGrath Highway 1 ZBA 2018-138-E1 Mar 25, 2020 PDF icon McGrath 1 - Staff Report.pdf 03/19/2020 - 1:52pm
Oak St 10 ZBA 2018-19-R-1-6-2019 Mar 25, 2020 PDF icon Oak St 10 - Staff Report Revised.pdf 03/25/2020 - 3:55pm
Dane St 54 ZBA 2018-85-R1-03-20 Mar 19, 2020 PDF icon Materials PDF icon Staff Report 03/19/2020 - 1:58pm
Clarendon Hill 00 40B#2020-0001 Mar 11, 2020 PDF icon Jan 22, 2020 ZBA Overview
PDF icon Feb 10, 2020 Full Submission
02/13/2020 - 8:42am
Somerville Ave 453 ZBA #2019-114-R1 12/19 Mar 11, 2020 PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Views
03/06/2020 - 12:04pm
Hawkins St 3 DRA 2020-0018 Mar 11, 2020 PDF icon Hawkins 3 - Variance Application.pdf 03/25/2020 - 9:05am
Somerville Ave 515 AA2020-0001 Feb 26, 2020 PDF icon Staff Report 02/20/2020 - 3:16pm
Mossland St 15 ZBA 2018-124-R1 Feb 05, 2020 PDF icon Plan Set PDF icon Staff Report 01/31/2020 - 1:29am
Beacon St 175 DRA#2020-0016 Jan 22, 2020 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans 02/18/2020 - 11:44am
Somerville Avenue 337 ZBA 2019-26 Dec 19, 2019 PDF icon 19069_377 Somerville Ave_ZBA Submission_102219_stamped.pdf PDF icon SomervilleAve337Unit2-StaffReport_121219.pdf 12/10/2019 - 12:36pm
Jacques Street 87 ZBA 2019-82 Dec 12, 2019 PDF icon SomervilleAve337Unit2-StaffReport_121219.pdf 12/06/2019 - 8:48am
Medford St 345 ZBA 2019-108 Dec 11, 2019 PDF icon Plans PDF icon Medford St 345 - Staff Report (POST).pdf 12/10/2019 - 9:53am
Highland Avenue 20 ZBA 2019-118 Dec 11, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set 10-3-19 PDF icon Highland Ave 20 - Staff Report (POST).pdf 12/10/2019 - 9:22am
Jaques Street 87 ZBA 2019-82 Dec 11, 2019 PDF icon Updated Plan Set PDF icon Updated Staff Report 12/06/2019 - 12:51pm

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