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
School St 241 ZBA 2018-31 Apr 04, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Exterior Elevations 2 - Updated March 2018
PDF icon Exterior Elevations 1 - Updated March 2018
PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Landscape Plan
PDF icon Staff Report 11/19/2019 - 1:56pm
Beacon 121 ZBA 2019-121 Nov 20, 2019 PDF icon Plans 11/18/2019 - 7:34pm
Rush Street 23 ZBA 2019-92 Sep 18, 2019 PDF icon Proposed Elevation 9-3-19
PDF icon Plan Set 9-12-19
PDF icon Plan Set 11-13-19
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
11/15/2019 - 9:39am
Dartmouth Street 3 ZBA 2019-112 Nov 20, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set 9-23-19
PDF icon Plan Set 11-4-19
PDF icon Staff Report 11/15/2019 - 9:34am
Eastman Road 21 ZBA 2019-02 Sep 18, 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
PDF icon Plan Set 5-9-19
PDF icon Plan Set 7-17-19
PDF icon Landscape Plan 2-15-19
PDF icon Civil Site Plan 3-13-19
PDF icon 3D Views 10-16-19
PDF icon 3D Views 11-6-19
PDF icon Staff Report 11/12/2019 - 9:00am
Farragut Avenue 14 ZBA 2019-81 Sep 18, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 3-13-19
PDF icon Landscape Concept 7-17-19
PDF icon Plan Set 10-2-19
PDF icon Shadow Study 10-7-19
PDF icon Plan Set 10-8-19
PDF icon Plan Set 10-24-19
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
11/08/2019 - 12:02pm
Linden Avenue 59 ZBA 2019-96 Oct 16, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 9-21-19
PDF icon Plan Set 10-28-19
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
11/08/2019 - 12:01pm
Yorktown Street 110-112 ZBA 2019-106 Nov 06, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 10-20-19 PDF icon Staff Report 11/08/2019 - 12:01pm
Myrtle Street 41 ZBA 2018-65-R1-10/19 Nov 06, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans 10-2-19 PDF icon Staff Report 11/08/2019 - 12:00pm
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
Winslow Ave 74 ZBA 2019-11 Apr 17, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Plans
10/29/2019 - 3:42pm
Adrian St 2 ZBA 2019-62 Sep 18, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Staff Report - Revised
10/28/2019 - 6:18pm
Belmont Street 40 ZBA 2019-101 Oct 16, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set PDF icon Staff Report 10/28/2019 - 6:17pm
Cedar St 171 ZBA 2018-191 Jun 19, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set - April 2019
PDF icon Plan Set - Updated August 2019
10/28/2019 - 6:16pm
Somerville Ave 365 PB 2019-50 Sep 19, 2019 PDF icon Decision 10/28/2019 - 5:36pm

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