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 currently the chair of the Zoning Board of Appeals as Chair. She 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.

  • Richard Rossetti, Clerk

Richard Rossetti has served on the Zoning Board of Appeals for over 14 years and is the Distribution Manager for the Spaulding Brick Company. He has also held a position with the Somerville Dreams For Youth Foundation and served 8 years on the Somerville High School Scholarship Foundation. He is a two-time member of the award-winning Somerville All-American City delegation.

  • Danielle Evans

Danielle 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, Alternate

Anne Brockelman, AIA, LEED AP BD+C is an architect with 17 years of experience and the Associate Principal at Perry Dean Rogers Partners Architects and Director of Sustainable Design. She graduated from Wesleyan University with a B.A. in Art History and Studio Art and a Master of Architecture from Harvard University's Graduate School of Design. She also has served as adjunct faculty at the Boston Architectural College since 2001 and received the Certificate in Design Education in 2006.

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
Oak Street 7 ZBA 2019-01 Feb 20, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set 1-2-19
PDF icon Sustainability Letter 1-2-19
PDF icon Accessibility Narrative 1-2-19
01/17/2019 - 10:23am
Tufts Street 27 ZBA 2018-195 Feb 20, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set 12-8-18
PDF icon Plot Plan 3-10-09
01/17/2019 - 11:48am
Eastman Road 21 ZBA 2019-02 Feb 20, 2019 PDF icon Storm Drainage Report 6-13-18
PDF icon Geotech Report 7-12-18
PDF icon Storm Drainage Summary 7-19-18
PDF icon Soil Test Pit 8-26-18
PDF icon Geotech Report 9-5-18
PDF icon Civil Site Plan 9-9-18
PDF icon Erosion Control Plan 9-3-18
PDF icon Recon Wall Calculations 9-10-18
PDF icon Structural Plans 9-10-18
PDF icon Shadow Study 12-26-18
PDF icon Plan Set 12-28-18
01/17/2019 - 10:13am
Lovell Street 11 ZBA 2018-184 Feb 06, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set 1-8-19 01/17/2019 - 9:53am
Houghton Street 21 ZBA 2018-187 Feb 06, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set 12-20-18 01/17/2019 - 10:21am
Oliver Street 50 ZBA 2018-186 Feb 06, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set 12-18-18
PDF icon Accessibility Letter 12-18-18
PDF icon Site Diagram 9-25-18
01/17/2019 - 11:35am
Cutler 14 ZBA 2018-180 Feb 06, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set - Initial Submission 01/15/2019 - 12:55pm
Medford Street 500 ZBA 2018-185 Feb 06, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set 1-7-19 01/17/2019 - 9:02am
Willow Avenue 233 ZBA 2018-183 Feb 06, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set 1-08-19 01/17/2019 - 9:08am
Irvington Road 23-25 ZBA 2018-192 Feb 06, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set 10-25-18
PDF icon Survey 4-16-18
01/17/2019 - 9:47am
Heath Street 34 ZBA 2018-176 Jan 23, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set 12-6-18
PDF icon Plan Set 10-29-18
12/13/2018 - 12:18pm
Garrison Ave 24 ZBA 2018-181 Jan 23, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set 12/14/2018 - 4:04pm
Summer St 111 ZBA 2018-171 Jan 23, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set 12/21/2018 - 4:31pm
Albion St 65 ZBA 2018-179 Jan 23, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Plot Plan
12/24/2018 - 1:41pm
Beacon Street 111 ZBA 2018-158 Jan 23, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set - Initial Submission 12/12/2018 - 12:07pm


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