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 Numbersort ascending First Hearing Date Decisions Other Reports Updated date
Mystic Ave 65-75 PB 2014-14 May 22, 2014 PDF icon MysticAve75.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 10/03/2014 - 11:43am
Broadway 77 PB 2014-13 May 21, 2014 PDF icon Broadway77.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 08/28/2014 - 9:52am
Broadway 2-8 PB 2014-12-R1(/3/2016) Apr 28, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/18/2018 - 11:35am
Broadway 2-8 PB 2014-12 May 08, 2014 PDF icon Broadway2-8.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Traffic Assessment
PDF icon Site Plan
PDF icon Drainage Report
PDF icon Traffic Assessment Updated
PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Plans 2014.05
PDF icon Staff Report 10/19/2015 - 3:40pm
Union Sq 73-75 PB 2014-11 May 08, 2014 PDF icon UnionSq73-76.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/27/2014 - 11:26am
McGrath Hwy 844 PB 2014-10 May 08, 2014 PDF icon McGrathHwy844.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Photo Sims
PDF icon Staff Report 06/27/2014 - 11:27am
Broadway 161 PB 2014-08 Mar 06, 2014 PDF icon Broadway161 (WWOP).pdf 08/29/2014 - 1:20pm
Canal St 300 PB 2014-07 Mar 20, 2014 PDF icon CanalSt300 (Combined).pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 03/28/2014 - 12:19pm
Medford St 61 PB 2014-06 Mar 06, 2014 PDF icon MedfordSt61.pdf PDF icon Site Plan
PDF icon Electrical Power Plan
PDF icon Staff Report 03/17/2014 - 11:01am
Artisan Way (Block 3) 395 PB 2014-04 Feb 06, 2014 PDF icon ArtisanWay395 (Combined).pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 01.30.2014
PDF icon Staff Report 02.13.2014
03/06/2014 - 4:22pm
Broadway 337-341 PB 2014-03 Feb 20, 2014 PDF icon Broadway337-341.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Updated Plan
PDF icon Staff Report 02.13.2014
PDF icon Staff Report 03.06.2014
03/19/2014 - 8:56am
Washington St 197 & 205 PB 2014-02 Feb 20, 2014 PDF icon WashingtonSt197&205.pdf PDF icon Plan PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Memo
03/12/2014 - 2:31pm
Washington St 181 & 197 PB 2014-01 Feb 19, 2014 PDF icon WashingtonSt181&197.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Traffic Assessment
PDF icon Stormwater Report
PDF icon Plans 1.31.14
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Memo
03/12/2014 - 2:31pm
Somerville Avenue 314-316 PB 2014- PDF icon SomervilleAve314-316.pdf PDF icon Staff Report 11/24/2014 - 3:38pm
Somerville Ave 230 PB 2013-23 Feb 06, 2014 PDF icon SomervilleAve230.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 03/17/2014 - 11:00am

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