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 descending Case Number First Hearing Date Decisions Other Reports Updated date
Prospect Street 10-50 (subdivision) PB 2019-02 Mar 21, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Subdivision Plan 2-8-19
PDF icon Revised Subdivision Plan 3-13-19
PDF icon Staff Report 07/25/2019 - 3:23pm
Albion St 100 ZBA2009-24 Jul 15, 2009 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon PBReport
PDF icon Staff Report
09/11/2018 - 4:06pm
Wallace Street 100 ZBA 2018-77 Jul 18, 2018 PDF icon WallaceSt100.pdf PDF icon Plan Set 5-29-18
PDF icon Neighborhood Photos
PDF icon Staff Report 07/23/2018 - 2:18pm
Albion St 100 ZBA2009-24 PDF icon Albion St100.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon PB Recommendation
PDF icon Staff Report
06/01/2010 - 9:05am
Fellsway West 100 ZBA 2012-57 Dec 12, 2012 PDF icon Structural Evaluation Report
PDF icon Peer Review of Structural Evaluation Report
02/23/2015 - 9:38am
Properzi Way 100 ZBA2007-61 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Properzi Way 100 ZBA2008-61-R0408 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Dover St 100 ZBA 2017-04 Mar 01, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/18/2018 - 1:40pm
Fellsway West 100 ZBA2009-03 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Dover Street 100 ZBA #2017-134 Dec 29, 2016 PDF icon Decision
PDF icon Memo
09/11/2018 - 3:53pm
Fellsway West 100 ZBA 2009-03-R1 (5/2011) Jun 22, 2011 PDF icon FellswayWest100.pdf PDF icon Approved Plans
PDF icon Proposed Revised Plans
PDF icon Staff Report 10/12/2011 - 12:05pm
Bartlett St 100 ZBA 2018-35 May 16, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set for May 16 2018 PDF icon Staff Report for May 16 2018 08/03/2018 - 11:22am
South Street 101 ZBA 2019-43 May 15, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Initial Plan Set
PDF icon Extension of Variance Decision
PDF icon Revision of SPSR Decision
PDF icon Staff Report 05/23/2019 - 12:07pm
Orchard St 101 ZBA #2014-84 Jul 31, 2014 PDF icon OrchardSt101.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 9-11-14
PDF icon Plot Plan
11/06/2014 - 7:15pm
South Street 101-153 MPSP2020-002 Sep 03, 2020 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
10/09/2020 - 12:45pm

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