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)
  • Members

  • Reports & Decisions

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 Numbersort descending Case Number First Hearing Date Decisions Other Reports Updated date
ASMD Phase 1AA -EXT PB2007-29-R0809 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
ASMD Phase 1AA -ASD PB2007-29-R0709 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
ASMD Phase 1AA -ASD PB2007-29-R1108 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
ASMD Phase 1AA PB2009-05 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
ASMD Phase 1AA -ASD PB2009-05-R-1109 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
ASMD Phase 1AA -IKEA PB2007-29-R0908 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
ASMD Phase 1AAA -Marketplace PB2009-13 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
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
Dane St. 0 ZBA 2016-76 Nov 07, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/18/2018 - 1:28pm
Assembly Line Park 0 PB 2006-59-MA18 Sep 22, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon SPSR Requested Waivers PDF icon Staff Report 09/17/2018 - 12:19pm
Assembly Row Preliminary Master Plan Revision 3 0 PB 2006-59-R3(1/2016) Feb 18, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Staff Report 09/17/2018 - 1:41pm
Fremont St 0 ZBA 2017-130 Dec 22, 2017 PDF icon Initial Plan Set Dec 4 2017 12/22/2017 - 4:51pm
North Point 0 PB 2014-29 Oct 16, 2014 PDF icon Northpoint.pdf PDF icon Neighborhood Development Plan PDF icon Staff Report 02/19/2015 - 9:57am
Elmwood 0 ZBA 2016-11 Jun 22, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/18/2018 - 3:37pm
Dane Street 0 ZBA 2016-76 Jul 14, 2016 PDF icon Decision 08/06/2018 - 11:25am

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