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
Hudson St 48 ZBA2008-28 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Highland Ave 230 ZBA2008-52 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Highland Ave 114 ZBA1998-38-R0408 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Springfield St 33 ZBA2008-73 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Weston Ave 15 ZBA1998-37-R0208 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
McGrath Hwy 51 ZBA2007-48 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Park St 44 ZBA2008-24 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Assembly Row Block 5 5 (Waiver) ZBA 2014-34 PDF icon AssemblyRowBlock5#2.pdf 05/13/2015 - 4:40pm
Broadway 1147 ZBA2008-17 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
College Ave 27 ZBA2008-51 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Clyde St (MaxPak - Master Plan) 56-61 PB2008-01 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
ASMD Phase 1AA -EXT PB2007-29-R0809 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Beacon St 292 ZBA2007-11-R0508 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Highland Rd 73 ZBA2009-55 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Highland Ave (Armory) 191 ZBA2005-70-R2-0409 05/20/2010 - 7:10am

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