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 Numbersort ascending Case Number First Hearing Date Decisions Other Reports Updated date
Florence Terrace 10 ZBA 2016-130 Jan 18, 2017 PDF icon Decision 08/06/2018 - 11:25am
Linden Place 10 ZBA 2016-152 Apr 05, 2017 PDF icon Decision 08/06/2018 - 12:11pm
Landers St 10 ZBA 2015-08 Mar 04, 2015 PDF icon LandersSt10.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 03/18/2015 - 1:19pm
Assembly Row Block 10 (133 Middlesex Ave) 10 PB 2011-10 Jun 09, 2011 PDF icon MiddlesexAve133-SPSR-A Block10 complete decision.pdf PDF icon Open Space Plan
PDF icon Elevations, Floor Plan & Perspectives
PDF icon LEED Checklist
PDF icon G.III_. Architectural Plans and Elevations.pdf
PDF icon Civil Plans
PDF icon DRC 5-26-11
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Staff Report 6-23-11
06/25/2014 - 4:35pm
Webster Ave 10 ZBA 2013-98 Oct 15, 2014 PDF icon WebsterAve10.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Photo Sims
PDF icon Staff Report 02/19/2015 - 10:00am
Columbus Ave 10 ZBA 2014-46 Jun 18, 2014 PDF icon ColumbusAve10.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 07/25/2014 - 11:37am
Beech St 10 ZBA 2014-25 May 07, 2014 PDF icon BeechSt10.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Stormwater Report
PDF icon Staff Report 06/27/2014 - 11:30am
Monmouth St 10 ZBA 2012-08 Feb 29, 2012 PDF icon MonmouthSt10.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 03/07/2012 - 11:23am
Aberdeen Road 10 ZBA 2016-29 Apr 20, 2016 PDF icon Decision 09/17/2018 - 11:14am
Miner Street 10 ZBA 2017-12 Mar 15, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 2-8-17 PDF icon Staff Report 08/06/2018 - 11:36am
Hersey St 10 ZBA2009-28 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Hillside Cir 10 ZBA 2011-59 Aug 17, 2011 PDF icon HillsideCircle10.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 08/18/2011 - 6:29pm
Oak Street 10 ZBA 2018-10 Mar 21, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon drawing set PDF icon Staff Report 08/03/2018 - 11:22am
Florence Terrace 10 ZBA #2016-130 Jan 18, 2017 PDF icon Decision 09/18/2018 - 3:41pm
Hayden Ter 1-4 ZBA2007-56-R0908 05/20/2010 - 7:10am

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