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
Beacon St 94 ZBA2000-09-R01-08 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Beacon St 94 ZBA 2012-75 Oct 03, 2012 PDF icon BeaconSt94.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Photo Simulations
PDF icon Staff Report 03/21/2013 - 4:58pm
Moreland Street 94 ZBA 2018-09 Feb 14, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 1-11-18 PDF icon Staff Report 08/07/2018 - 8:51am
Beacon St 94 ZBA2009-46 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Beacon St 94 ZBA 2014-23 May 07, 2014 PDF icon BeaconSt94.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Photo Sims
PDF icon Staff Report 02/23/2015 - 9:41am
Hudson St 95 ZBA 2013-78 Dec 11, 2013 PDF icon HudsonSt95.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 01/22/2014 - 6:09pm
Kidder Ave 95 ZBA2008-39 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Cross Street 95-97 ZBA 2018--05 Mar 21, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Fence PDF icon Staff Report 08/03/2018 - 11:26am
Wheatland Street 96 ZBA 2018-175 May 15, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 6-11-18
PDF icon Survey 5-15-18
PDF icon Plan Set 4-25-19
PDF icon Plan Set 5-30-19
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
07/02/2019 - 11:17am
Cross St 96 ZBA 2015-83 Oct 21, 2015 PDF icon CrossSt96.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Plans 11/04/15
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Staff Report 11/04/15 Updated
11/16/2015 - 2:47pm
Prospect St 97 ZBA 2013-57 Sep 04, 2013 PDF icon ProspectSt97.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Perspectives
PDF icon Parking Memo
PDF icon Staff Report 09/16/2013 - 11:40am
Highland Road 98 ZBA 2016-113 Nov 02, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/19/2018 - 1:36pm
Highland Road 98 ZBA 2016-113 Nov 02, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/19/2018 - 1:38pm
Highland Road 98 ZBA 2016-113 Nov 02, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/19/2018 - 1:40pm
Central Street 98 ZBA 2016-24 Apr 06, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/18/2018 - 12:13pm

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