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
Somerville Ave 300 PB 2018-21 Jan 23, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans December 2018
PDF icon Updated plans for Feb 7 2019 DRC
PDF icon Updated plans for Feb 28 2019 DRC
PDF icon Plans for Mar 21, 2019 PB
PDF icon Updated Plans for June 20, 2019 PB
PDF icon Staff Report 07/02/2019 - 11:06am
Prospect Street 10-50 (subdivision) PB 2019-02 Mar 21, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Subdivision Plan 2-8-19
PDF icon Revised Subdivision Plan 3-13-19
PDF icon Staff Report 07/25/2019 - 3:23pm
Prospect Street 10-50 (Alley) PB 2019-03 Apr 04, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Thoroughfare Plan Set 2-13-19
PDF icon Thoroughfare Plan Set 4-16-19
PDF icon Abramson Memo 5-15-19
PDF icon Planning Director Memo 6-6-19
PDF icon Staff Report 07/25/2019 - 3:23pm
Prospect Street 10 (D2.1) PB 2019-04 Apr 04, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Zoning Compliance (initial submittal)
PDF icon Environmental Analysis (initial submittal)
PDF icon Mobility Management Plan (initial submittal)
PDF icon Plan Set (initial submittal)
PDF icon Transportation Access Plan (initial submittal)
PDF icon Zoning Compliance (revised 3-26-19 submittal)
PDF icon Plan Set (revised 3-26-19 submittal)
PDF icon Transportation Access Plan (revised 3-26-19 submittal)
PDF icon Project Narrative
PDF icon Anticipated Schedule
PDF icon Abramson Memo 5-15-19
PDF icon Planning Director Memo 6-6-19
PDF icon US2 Presentation 6.13.19
PDF icon Resiliency Supplement 6-18-19
PDF icon Final Mobility Management Plan Decision
PDF icon Facade Updates 7-2-19
PDF icon US2 Planning Board Update 7-11-19
PDF icon Preliminary Staff Report
PDF icon Staff Report
07/25/2019 - 3:23pm
Prospect Street 10-50 (Civic Plaza) PB 2019-05 Jun 20, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Zoning Compliance 4-30-19
PDF icon Environmental Analysis 4-30-19
PDF icon Plan Set 4-30-19
PDF icon Project Narrative 4-30-19
PDF icon Abramson Memo 5-15-19
PDF icon Planning Director Memo 6-6-19
PDF icon US2 Presentation 6.13.19
PDF icon Updated Plan Sheets 7-1-19
PDF icon US2 Presentation 7-11-19
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Revised Staff Report 8-14-19
PDF icon Updated Staff Report 8-22-19
09/10/2019 - 8:26am
Prospect Street 20 (D2.2) PB 2019-06 Jun 20, 2019 PDF icon Decision (SP)
PDF icon Decision (DSPR)
PDF icon Zoning Compliance 4-30-19
PDF icon Environmental Analysis 4-30-19
PDF icon Mobility Management Plan 4-30-19
PDF icon Plan Set 4-30-19
PDF icon Transportation Access Plan 4-30-19
PDF icon Project Narrative 4-30-19
PDF icon Anticipated Schedule
PDF icon Abramson Memo 5-15-19
PDF icon Planning Director Memo 6-6-19
PDF icon US2 Presentation 6.13.19
PDF icon D2.2 and D2.3 Resiliency Supplement 6-26-19
PDF icon Mobility Management Plan (revised) 7-3-19
PDF icon Updated Plan Sheets 8-9-19
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report rev2
09/10/2019 - 8:25am
Prospect Street 50 (D2.3) PB 2019-07 Jun 20, 2019 PDF icon Decision (SP)
PDF icon Decision (DSPR)
PDF icon Zoning Compliance 4-30-19
PDF icon Environmental Analysis 4-30-19
PDF icon Mobility Management Plan 4-30-19
PDF icon Plan Set 4-30-19
PDF icon Transportation Access Plan 4-30-19
PDF icon Project Narrative 4-30-19
PDF icon Anticipated Schedule
PDF icon Abramson Memo 5-15-19
PDF icon Planning Director Memo 6-6-19
PDF icon US2 Presentation 6.13.19
PDF icon D2.2 and D2.3 Resiliency Supplement 6-26-19
PDF icon Mobility Management Plan (revised) 7-3-19
PDF icon Updated Plan Sheets 8-9-19
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report rev2
09/10/2019 - 8:25am
Somerville Ave 346 PB 2019-08 Sep 05, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Link to Plan Set
PDF icon Parking/Traffic Study Memo
PDF icon Parking/Traffic Study Narrative
PDF icon Link to Updated Plan Set for 10-3-2019 PB
PDF icon Plan Set 12-10-2019
PDF icon Staff Report - PB
PDF icon REVISED Staff Report
PDF icon Second Revised Staff Report
PDF icon Staff Report 3rd Revision
PDF icon Somerville Ave 346 - Memo 12-5-19.pdf
01/15/2020 - 9:05am
Broadway 102-104 PB 2019-12 Apr 18, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 3-6-19 PDF icon Staff Report 05/22/2019 - 10:46am
Broadway 114-120 PB 2019-13 May 16, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Updated Plan Set for 8-8-2019
PDF icon Staff Report 08/22/2019 - 9:34pm
Washington St 181 PB 2019-14 Aug 08, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set PDF icon Staff Report 08/22/2019 - 9:39pm
Broadway 6 PB 2019-16 Aug 08, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 4-5-19 PDF icon Staff Report 08/13/2019 - 2:10pm
Sanborn Court 9 PB 2019-17 Aug 08, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Seating Plan 4-19-19
PDF icon Plot Plan 6-5-19
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
08/23/2019 - 9:32am
Broadway 28-44 PB 2019-18 Oct 03, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 7-1-19
PDF icon Plan Set 8-29-19
PDF icon Plan Set 9-23-19
PDF icon Mobility Management 11-7-19
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
01/08/2020 - 3:48pm
Broadway 328 PB 2019-22 Oct 17, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Proposed Sketch PDF icon Staff Report 10/24/2019 - 11:57am

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