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)

 

  • Notes for Applicants

  • Board Members

  • Reports & Decisions

Development Review Standards:

  • Please be advised that, per the standards set out in Article 15 of the Somerville Zoning Ordinance, a development review application is not complete until all required community and Design Review meetings have been held, all necessary information has been submitted, and all fees have been paid. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed, will not be publicly noticed, and will not be scheduled for a public hearing.
  • Planning staff will work with applicants to discuss meeting dates and review application materials.
  • Applications for large projects may require a longer review period and evaluation by multiple City departments before being deemed complete and scheduled for a public hearing.
  • Planning staff reserves the right to ask for additional information or to change meeting dates.

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 Date Decisions Other Reports Updated datesort ascending
Middlesex Ave 120 MP#2020-0003 Nov 04, 2020 PDF icon Narrative PDF icon Staff Memo 10/30/2020 - 8:57am
Grand Union Blvd (Block 5B) 455 PB2017-05-R2-09/20 Oct 15, 2020 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Appendix
PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Staff Memo 10/29/2020 - 5:49pm
Somerville Avenue 337 PB 2016-09-R1-0317 Aug 09, 2017 PDF icon Decision 10/29/2020 - 10:57am
Clifton Street 9 CZC20-000043 Nov 04, 2020 PDF icon Development Narrative
PDF icon Plat Plan
PDF icon Staff Memo 10/23/2020 - 5:24pm
North St 200 ZBA 2017-125-R1-10/20 Nov 04, 2020 PDF icon 2018 ZBA Approval
PDF icon Narrative & Plans
PDF icon Staff Memo 10/22/2020 - 11:04am
Central St 76-82 DRA #2020-0277 Nov 05, 2020 PDF icon Transportation Impact Study
PDF icon Transportation Access Plan
PDF icon Drawings
PDF icon Narrative
PDF icon Staff Memo 10/22/2020 - 10:58am
Clarendon Hill 00 40B#2020-0001 Jun 10, 2020 PDF icon Decision
PDF icon Decision (with Clerk Stamp)
Package icon Complete Packet - September 16 PDF icon P&Z 40B Overview (20.06.03)
PDF icon Staff Report (09.16.20)
PDF icon Sept 30 Draft Conditions
10/20/2020 - 3:35pm
South Street 101-153 MPSP2020-002 Sep 03, 2020 PDF icon Application
PDF icon Appendix
PDF icon 20.09.03 Planning Board Presentation
PDF icon 20.09.17 Planning Board Presentation
PDF icon 20200828 Staff Memo
PDF icon 20201009 Staff Memo
10/09/2020 - 12:45pm
Somerville Ave 453 ZBA #2019-114-R1 12/19 Mar 11, 2020 PDF icon Decision PDF icon April 8 Drawings
PDF icon April 30 Drawings
PDF icon June 10 Drawings
PDF icon March 4 Staff Report
PDF icon Views
PDF icon April 9 Staff Report
PDF icon May 6 Staff Report
PDF icon June 10 Staff Report
10/07/2020 - 9:59am
St James Ave 34 ZBA2013-39-R1-10/2020 Oct 14, 2020 PDF icon St James Ave 34 - Narrative.pdf
PDF icon St James Ave 34 - Plans.pdf
PDF icon Staff Memo 10/06/2020 - 11:12am
McGrath Hwy 15 DRA#2020-0334 Sep 30, 2020 PDF icon McGrath Hwy 15 - Drawings.pdf
PDF icon McGrath Hwy 15 - Application Materials.pdf
PDF icon Staff Memo 10/06/2020 - 10:21am
Medford St 374a DRA#2020-0134 Aug 19, 2020 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Staff Memo 09/09/2020 - 7:04pm
Prescott Street 57 ZBA 2018-150 Nov 28, 2018 PDF icon Corrected Decision PDF icon Plan Set 10-17-18
PDF icon Plan Set 12-06-18
PDF icon Staff Report 09/02/2020 - 9:39am
Somerville Ave 365-369 DRA2020-0125 Jun 25, 2020 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Memo 08/28/2020 - 10:00am
South St 111-153 DRA2020-0272 Aug 06, 2020 PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Memo 08/03/2020 - 4:28pm

Pages

Subscribe to Reports and Decisions