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.

Streetsort descending Number Case Number First Hearing Date Decisions Other Reports Updated date
Bow St 16-18 PB 2013-14 Aug 08, 2013 PDF icon BowSt16-18.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 08/15/2013 - 4:18pm
Bow Street 75 ZBA 2015-02 Jan 02, 2015 PDF icon BowSt75 (WWOP).pdf 02/23/2015 - 9:22am
Bow Street 23A ZBA #2015-66 Sep 16, 2015 PDF icon BowSt23A.pdf PDF icon Planning Staff Report 09/30/2015 - 1:47pm
Bowers Ave 7-9 ZBA2008-68 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Boynton Yards - 1 Earle Street Building 1 ZBA2018-20 & PB2018-03 Apr 05, 2018 PDF icon Variance Decision
PDF icon SPSR Decision
PDF icon site plan
PDF icon building plans
PDF icon building elevations
PDF icon traffic impact study
PDF icon renderings
PDF icon soil/environmental report
PDF icon site photos
PDF icon sewer calculations
PDF icon context map
PDF icon shadow analysis
PDF icon physical model photos
PDF icon stormwater report
PDF icon narrative
PDF icon Presentation: May 3rd Planning Board
PDF icon Variance Staff Report
PDF icon Preliminary SPSR Staff Report
PDF icon 180426_Boynton yards_PB revisions (2).pdf
PDF icon Final SPSR Staff Report
08/03/2018 - 11:23am
Boynton Yards - 2 Earle Street Building 2 ZBA2018-21 & PB2018-04 Apr 04, 2018 PDF icon Variance Decision
PDF icon SPSR Decision
PDF icon soil/environmental report
PDF icon site plan
PDF icon building elevations
PDF icon building plans
PDF icon site photos
PDF icon traffic impact study
PDF icon renderings
PDF icon sewer calculations
PDF icon context map
PDF icon shadow analysis
PDF icon physical model photos
PDF icon stormwater report
PDF icon narrative
PDF icon Variance Staff Report
PDF icon Preliminary SPSR Staff Report
PDF icon Final SPSR Staff Report
08/03/2018 - 11:23am
Bradley 14 ZBA 2017-68 Sep 06, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Bradley St 14 - Final Combined Plans & 3D Renderings.pdf
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Bradley 14 - Staff Report - Updated.pdf
08/06/2018 - 12:14pm
Brastow 15 ZBA 2016-70 Aug 03, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Staff Report 09/17/2018 - 5:41pm
Brastow Ave 50 ZBA 2011-18 Apr 20, 2011 PDF icon BrastowAve50.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon PB Report
PDF icon Plans
10/12/2011 - 12:04pm
Broadway 1234-1236 ZBA 2014-74 Nov 05, 2014 PDF icon Broadway1234-1236.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 02/23/2015 - 9:26am
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 112 PB 2016-11-R1-10/18 Nov 08, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Staff Report 11/26/2018 - 3:53pm
Broadway 152-158 CZC #20-000059 Feb 18, 2021 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Drawing Set
PDF icon Sustainability Narrative
PDF icon NM 2020 07 29
PDF icon NM 2020 09 29
PDF icon Application
PDF icon Staff Memo 03/31/2021 - 5:15pm
Broadway 125 PB 2013-19 Nov 07, 2013 PDF icon Broadway125.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 11/19/2013 - 10:14am
Broadway 130 PB 2011-02-R1 (1/2012) Feb 02, 2012 PDF icon Broadway130_R1-2012_.pdf PDF icon Pictures PDF icon Staff Report 02/06/2012 - 4:38pm

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