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 Date Decisions Other Reports Updated datesort descending
Freemont 0 CZC2020-000006 Mar 31, 2021 PDF icon Landscape
PDF icon Narrative
PDF icon Drawings
PDF icon Staff Memo 03/26/2021 - 12:59pm
Broadway 152-158 CZC #20-000059 Feb 18, 2021 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Drawing Set
PDF icon Sustainability Narrative
PDF icon NM 2020 07 29
PDF icon NM 2020 09 29
PDF icon Application
PDF icon Staff Memo 03/31/2021 - 5:15pm
South Street 101-153 MPSP2020-002 Sep 03, 2020 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Application
PDF icon Appendix
PDF icon 20.09.03 Planning Board Presentation
PDF icon 20.09.17 Planning Board Presentation
PDF icon 20200828 Staff Memo
PDF icon 20201009 Staff Memo
04/07/2021 - 3:18pm
Middlesex Ave 120 MP#2020-0003 Nov 04, 2020 PDF icon Decision (Hardship Variance)
PDF icon Decision (MPSP)
PDF icon MMP Approval
PDF icon MPSP Application Appendix
PDF icon MPSP Application
PDF icon Hardship Variance Application
PDF icon Staff Memo (MPSP)
PDF icon Staff Memo (Hardship Variance)
04/07/2021 - 3:48pm
Central St 51 ZBA 2017-36-R1-02/21 Apr 14, 2021 PDF icon Narrative PDF icon Staff Memo 04/08/2021 - 4:58pm
Elm St 240 CZC20-000073 Apr 15, 2021 PDF icon Drawings
PDF icon Transportation Impact Study
PDF icon Transportation Access Plan
PDF icon Narrative
PDF icon Staff Memo 04/09/2021 - 4:14pm
Elm St 255 CZC20-000085 Apr 15, 2021 PDF icon Narrative and Drawings
PDF icon Transportation Impact Statement
PDF icon Transportation Impact Statement Appendix
PDF icon Transportation Access Plan
PDF icon Staff Memo 04/09/2021 - 4:15pm
Hawkins Street 3 CZC20-000060 Feb 17, 2021 PDF icon UDC Recommendation PDF icon Landscape Plans
PDF icon Sustainability Narrative
PDF icon Narrative
PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Revised Plans
PDF icon Staff Memo (Feb 03) 04/13/2021 - 1:57pm

Pages

Subscribe to Reports and Decisions