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 Number First Hearing Datesort descending Decisions Other Reports Updated date
Dane St 54 ZBA 2018-85-R1-03-20 Mar 19, 2020 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Materials PDF icon Staff Report 04/07/2020 - 9:26am
McGrath Highway 1 ZBA 2018-138-E1 Mar 25, 2020 PDF icon Decision PDF icon McGrath 1 - Staff Report.pdf 04/07/2020 - 9:26am
Oak St 10 ZBA 2018-19-R-1-6-2019 Mar 25, 2020 PDF icon Oak St 10 - Staff Report Revised.pdf 03/25/2020 - 3:55pm
McGrath Highway 845 PB2017-27-EXT1 Mar 26, 2020 PDF icon Decision 04/07/2020 - 9:29am
Broadway 1154 ZBA2018-78-E2-3/20 Apr 22, 2020 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Staff Report 05/13/2020 - 3:55pm
Murdock 50-54 ZBA 2018-19-R1-4-19-E1-3-20 Apr 22, 2020 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Staff Report 05/13/2020 - 3:56pm
Somerville Avenue 391-395 ZBA 2019-37-E1 Apr 22, 2020 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Staff Report 05/13/2020 - 3:57pm
Middlesex Ave 5 PB2018-07-MA2-0320 Apr 23, 2020 PDF icon Decision PDF icon XMBLY-PUDrev-032410_AppA.pdf
PDF icon XMBLY-PUDrev-032420_AppB (Compress).pdf
PDF icon XMBLY-PUDrev-032410_AppC.pdf
PDF icon XMBLY-PUDrev-032420_AppDFG.pdf
PDF icon XMBLY-PUDrev-032410_03.pdf
PDF icon XMBLY-PUDrev-032420_00-02.pdf
PDF icon XMBLY-PUDrev-032420_04-06.pdf
PDF icon XMBLY-PUDrev-032410_AppE-1.pdf
PDF icon XMBLY-PUDrev-032410_AppE-2.pdf
PDF icon Staff Memo 07/23/2020 - 11:15am
Middlesex Ave 74 DRA #2020-0162 Apr 30, 2020 PDF icon Decision
PDF icon MMP Final Decision
PDF icon MPSP – Original Submission – 041420
PDF icon MSMP - MMP Certification - 060420
PDF icon MSMP - MMP Final Decision - 060420
PDF icon Response to Engineering Comments - 052120
PDF icon Response to PSUF Comments - 052120
PDF icon Block and Lot Plan
PDF icon Staff Memo
PDF icon PSUF Comments - 050420
PDF icon Engineering Comments - 050520
PDF icon Staff Report - June 11
07/01/2020 - 10:13am
Highland Ave 378 DRA2020-0039 May 07, 2020 PDF icon Use Special Permit Decision
PDF icon Minor Site Plan Approval Decision
PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Trip Generation Memo
PDF icon Neighborhood Meeting #1
PDF icon Staff Memo
07/29/2020 - 12:51pm
Medford St 345 DRA2020-0052 May 20, 2020 PDF icon Drawings
PDF icon Variance Application 1
PDF icon Variance Application 2
PDF icon Variance Application 3
PDF icon Variance Application Addendum (20.06.15)
PDF icon Alternate Massing (20.07.07)
PDF icon Updated Drawings (20.07.07)
PDF icon Staff Memo 07/13/2020 - 9:07am
Clarendon Hill 00 40B#2020-0001 Jun 10, 2020 PDF icon Jan 22, 2020 ZBA Overview Presentation
PDF icon Original Submission (20.02.10)
Package icon Updated Full Submission (20.06.18)
PDF icon H3. Revised Building Elevations
Package icon Additional Plans for August 5
PDF icon P&Z 40B Overview (20.06.03)
PDF icon PSUF (20.06.12).pdf
PDF icon OSE (20.06.19).pdf
PDF icon Mobility (20.06.19).pdf
PDF icon PSUF (20.06.25).pdf
PDF icon Engineering (20.06.24).pdf
PDF icon PSUF (20.07.30).pdf
PDF icon Staff Report (08.05.20)
PDF icon Historic Preservation (20.07.30).pdf
08/05/2020 - 5:42pm
Union Square 71 DRA2020-0038 Jun 10, 2020 PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Context Elevations
PDF icon Plot Plan
PDF icon Variance Narrative
PDF icon Staff Memo 06/05/2020 - 10:25am
Middlesex Ave 133 PB#07.10-R1-06.20 Jun 11, 2020 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Layout & Materials Revision
PDF icon Potential Office Tenant
PDF icon Full Application
PDF icon Corrected Staff Memo 07/01/2020 - 10:11am
Somerville Ave 365-369 DRA2020-0125 Jun 25, 2020 PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Memo 06/19/2020 - 8:44am

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