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
Highland Avenue 371 ZBA 2019-105 Nov 20, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set 8-30-19 10/15/2019 - 4:29pm
Broadway 328 PB 2019-22 Oct 17, 2019 PDF icon Proposed Sketch PDF icon Staff Report 10/15/2019 - 4:26pm
Kensington Ave 24 ZBA 2019-104 Oct 16, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set 8-20-19 PDF icon Staff Report 10/15/2019 - 8:35am
Flint Avenue 12 ZBA 2019-60 Oct 16, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set 9-12-19 10/07/2019 - 2:21pm
Cameron Avenue 45 ZBA 2016-81-R2-(09/19) Oct 16, 2019 PDF icon Staff Report 10/15/2019 - 8:33am
Belmont Street 40 ZBA 2019-101 Oct 16, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set PDF icon Staff Report 10/15/2019 - 4:30pm
Linden Street 59 ZBA 2019-96 Oct 16, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set 9-21-19 PDF icon Staff Report 10/15/2019 - 8:36am
Broadway 28-44 PB 2019-18 Oct 03, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set 7-1-19
PDF icon Plan Set 8-29-19
PDF icon Plan Set 9-23-19
PDF icon Staff Report 10/15/2019 - 4:26pm
Broadway 1060 ZBA 2016-79-R1-7-19 Oct 03, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Google drive link to plans PDF icon Broadway 1060 (Powderhouse School - Staff Report.pdf 10/16/2019 - 2:27pm
Broadway 385 ZBA 2019-102 Oct 02, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 9-17-19
PDF icon Accessibility Letter 8-28-19
PDF icon Staff Report 10/16/2019 - 2:28pm
Elm Street 219-221 ZBA 2019-99 Oct 02, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Existing Floor Plan
PDF icon Proposed Floor Plan 8-15-19
PDF icon Accessibility Narrative 8-27-19
PDF icon Staff Report 10/16/2019 - 2:28pm
Trull Street 57 ZBA 2019-95 Oct 02, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set 8-28-19 PDF icon Staff Report 10/15/2019 - 8:36am
Mystic Ave 350 ZBA 2019-103 Oct 02, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set PDF icon Staff Report 10/16/2019 - 2:27pm
Dane St 11R ZBA 2019-77 Sep 18, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Plot Plan
PDF icon Staff Report 10/16/2019 - 2:26pm
Jaques Street 87 ZBA 2019-82 Sep 18, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set 7-17-19
PDF icon Plan Set 8-16-19
PDF icon Plan Set 9-3-19
PDF icon Plan 9-10-19
PDF icon Staff Report 10/15/2019 - 8:34am

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