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
43 Oak ZBA 2016-89 Oct 05, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/20/2018 - 6:25pm
NorthPoint Open Space EF/G PB 2017-24 Dec 14, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon drawing set
PDF icon application package
PDF icon revised application package - 12.05.17
PDF icon Staff Report 08/07/2018 - 8:58am
NorthPoint Parcel EF PB 2017-23 Dec 14, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon plan set
PDF icon civil set
PDF icon application package
PDF icon revised application package - 12.05.17
PDF icon Staff Report 08/07/2018 - 1:17pm
NorthPoint Parcel JK - Design & Site Plan PB 2016-21 Nov 08, 2016 PDF icon Northpoint Parcel JK (#PB 2016-21) (1).pdf 09/20/2018 - 6:16pm
NorthPoint Parcel JK - loading docks V ZBA 2016-137 Nov 07, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans 09/20/2018 - 6:10pm
NorthPoint Parcel JK loading dock SP PB 2016-18 Nov 17, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans 09/20/2018 - 6:18pm
Assembly Row Preliminary Master Plan Revision 2 PMP PB 2006-59-R2(5/2014) Jun 19, 2014 PDF icon AssemblyRowPUDPMPwAttachments.pdf PDF icon Application
PDF icon Civil Plans
PDF icon Open Space Plan
PDF icon Rendered Site Plans
PDF icon Design Guidelines
PDF icon Transportation 1
PDF icon Transportation 2
PDF icon Utilities
PDF icon Utilities Appendices 1
PDF icon Utilities Appendices 2
PDF icon Staff Report 6.12.2014
PDF icon Staff Report 6.19.2014
09/10/2014 - 10:26am
13 School Street ZBA #2016-33 Apr 20, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/20/2018 - 7:09pm
Clyde St (Maxpak Driveway)  42 ZBA2008-69 05/20/2010 - 7:10am

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