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 Numbersort descending First Hearing Date Decisions Other Reports Updated date
Willow Avenue 82 ZBA 2017-30 Oct 18, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 8-16-17
PDF icon Survey Plan
PDF icon Landscape Plan 10-12-17
PDF icon Plan Set 11-2-17
PDF icon First Floor Plan 11-16-17
PDF icon Staff Report 10-18-17
PDF icon Updated Staff Report 11-8-17
PDF icon Updated Staff Report 11-29-17
08/07/2018 - 1:15pm
Earle St 33 2009-06 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Broadway 701 2015-58 Jan 20, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/18/2018 - 11:46am
Dane Avenue 31 2015-91 Mar 02, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Dane Ave 31- Staff Report_0.pdf 09/18/2018 - 1:23pm
Chetwynd 49 2016-09 May 04, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/18/2018 - 12:23pm
Russell 39 2016-103 Oct 05, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/20/2018 - 6:46pm
Windom 19 2016-107 Oct 19, 2016 PDF icon WindomSt19.pdf PDF icon 19_windom_SR.pdf 09/21/2018 - 10:25am
Josephine 89 2016-109 Oct 19, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Staff Report 09/20/2018 - 12:12pm
Florence 44 2016-38 May 04, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/18/2018 - 3:38pm
Summer 62A 2016-60 Jun 22, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/20/2018 - 7:22pm
Clarendon Hill 00 40B#2020-0001 Jun 10, 2020 PDF icon Jan 22, 2020 ZBA Overview Presentation
PDF icon Feb 10, 2020 Original Submission
PDF icon LEED Narrative
PDF icon Existing Conditions Plan
PDF icon Revised Building Elevations
05/21/2020 - 5:55pm
Somerville Ave 515 AA2020-0001 Feb 26, 2020 PDF icon Staff Report 02/20/2020 - 3:16pm
Middlesex Ave 74 DRA #2020-0162 Apr 30, 2020 PDF icon MPSP – Original Submission – 041420 PDF icon Staff Memo 05/04/2020 - 11:28am
Hawkins St 3 DRA 2020-0018 Mar 11, 2020 PDF icon Hawkins 3 - Variance Application.pdf 03/25/2020 - 9:05am
Beacon St 175 DRA#2020-0016 Jan 22, 2020 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans 02/18/2020 - 11:44am

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