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
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
Clarendon Hill 00 ZBA 2019-115 Dec 11, 2019 PDF icon Project Narrative
PDF icon Plan Set 10-7-19
PDF icon Traffic Study 9-19
10/31/2019 - 10:51am
Woods Ave 75-77 ZBA 2019-126 Dec 11, 2019 PDF icon Woods Ave 75-77 - Plans (POST).pdf PDF icon Woods Ave 75-77 - Staff Report.pdf 12/09/2019 - 10:26am
Sanborn Court 9 PB 2019-24 Nov 21, 2019 PDF icon Existing Floor Plan
PDF icon Proposed Floor Plan
PDF icon Cover Letter
11/15/2019 - 10:14am
Broadway 242 ZBA 2019-119 Nov 20, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set 11-07-19 PDF icon Staff Report 11/15/2019 - 9:33am
Highland Avenue 371 ZBA 2019-105 Nov 20, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set 8-30-19 10/15/2019 - 4:29pm
Henderson Street 22 ZBA 2019-107 Nov 20, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set 11-5-19 PDF icon Staff Report 11/15/2019 - 9:48am
Somerville Avenue 453 ZBA 2019-114 Nov 20, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set 11-4-19
PDF icon Accessibility Letter 11-14-19
PDF icon 2019.12.03 Ground Floor Plan (POST).pdf
PDF icon Shadow Studies COMBINED.pdf
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Somerville Ave 453 - Memo 2019-12-5.pdf
12/09/2019 - 10:31am
Broadway 916 ZBA 2019-122 Nov 20, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set PDF icon Broadway 916 - Staff Report.pdf 12/09/2019 - 10:31am
Sycamore 8 ZBA 2019-61 Nov 20, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set 11-20
PDF icon Plan Set 12-11
PDF icon Staff Report 12/09/2019 - 10:32am
Beacon 121 ZBA 2019-121 Nov 20, 2019 PDF icon Plans 11/18/2019 - 7:34pm

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