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
Broadway 176-182 PB 2017-22 Jun 21, 2018 PDF icon Plans for June 21 2018 Plng Board
PDF icon Updated Plan Set for 6-21-2018
PDF icon Updated Plan Set for Dec 12 2018
PDF icon Broadway 176-182 - Plans for December 13, 2019 ZBA.pdf
PDF icon Broadway%20176-182%20-%20Plans%20121319%20%28POST%29.pdf
PDF icon Staff Report 12/10/2019 - 3:34pm
NorthPoint Parcel EF PB 2017-23 Dec 14, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon plan set
PDF icon civil set
PDF icon application package
PDF icon revised application package - 12.05.17
PDF icon Staff Report 08/07/2018 - 1:17pm
NorthPoint Open Space EF/G PB 2017-24 Dec 14, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon drawing set
PDF icon application package
PDF icon revised application package - 12.05.17
PDF icon Staff Report 08/07/2018 - 8:58am
McGrath Hwy (PUD) 845 PB 2017-27 Jan 04, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Application package
PDF icon impervious clarification
PDF icon response to questions
PDF icon memo to T&I
PDF icon air quality report
PDF icon design guidelines
PDF icon Preliminary Staff Report - prior to testimony
PDF icon Revised staff report with conditions
PDF icon Staff Memo
PDF icon Staff Memo
02/21/2020 - 12:12pm
Broadway 192 PB 2017-28 Dec 14, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Signage 11-22-17
PDF icon Photo of sign
PDF icon Signage 2-6-18
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
08/07/2018 - 8:53am
Broadway 114 PB 2017-29 Mar 08, 2018 PDF icon drawing set
PDF icon revised design drawing set
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Staff Report - updated & corrected
PDF icon Memo to Planning Board
08/07/2018 - 8:47am
Mystic Ave 654 PB 2018-01 Jan 31, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans for January 31, 2018
PDF icon Plans for Feb 13, 2018
PDF icon Staff Report for Jan 31 2018
PDF icon Updated Staff Report for Feb 13, 2018
PDF icon 654 Mystic Plans for 2-13-2018 - updated w A020 footnote correction for lot sq.ft_..pdf
11/05/2018 - 8:00pm
Somerville Ave 382 PB 2018-02 Mar 08, 2018 PDF icon Withdrawal PDF icon drawing set 08/07/2018 - 1:26pm
Broadway 130 PB 2018-05 Apr 05, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Fat Hen graphic 1-24-18
PDF icon Perfect Dental graphic 1-24-18
PDF icon Staff Report 10/17/2018 - 8:57am
Broadway 130 PB 2018-05 Apr 05, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Fat Hen Graphics
PDF icon Perfect Dental Graphics
PDF icon Staff Report 08/03/2018 - 11:29am
Broadway 57 PB 2018-08 May 02, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 01/08/2020 - 3:50pm
Broadway 323 PB 2018-10 Jun 07, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Signage Rendering 6-4-18 PDF icon 323 Broadway Staff Report.pdf 08/03/2018 - 11:15am
Windsor Street 561 PB 2018-15 Oct 04, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon plan set
PDF icon phasing drawings
PDF icon accessibility narrative
PDF icon schedule of uses
PDF icon staff report
PDF icon revised staff report
PDF icon re-revised staff report
12/14/2018 - 9:40am
Roland Street / Inner Belt Rd 56 / 0 & 20 PB 2018-18 Nov 29, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Subdivision Plan 10-10-18 PDF icon Staff Report 12/12/2018 - 11:13am
Temple Street 15 PB 2018-20 Feb 07, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Staff Report 10-16-18 PDF icon Staff Report 03/11/2019 - 2:30pm

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