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
Mossland St 15 ZBA 2018-124 Nov 07, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Updated Plans November 2018
PDF icon Updated Plans for Dec 12 2018
PDF icon Stamped Plot Plan for Dec 12, 2018
PDF icon Staff Report 12/26/2018 - 1:40pm
Oak St 43-45 ZBA 2016-89-R1-(11/14) Dec 12, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Staff Report 12/26/2018 - 1:47pm
Columbus Avenue 40 ZBA 2018-147 Jan 09, 2019 PDF icon Plans 10-17-18 01/02/2019 - 1:51pm
Revolution Drive (XMBLY Block 23) 290 PB2018-12 Sep 06, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon ORIGINAL - cover letter
PDF icon ORIGINAL - executive summary
PDF icon ORIGINAL - application & waivers
PDF icon ORIGINAL - site photos
PDF icon ORIGINAL - zoning compliance
PDF icon ORIGINAL - transportation narrative
PDF icon ORIGINAL - utility analysis
PDF icon ORIGINAL - stormwater memo
PDF icon ORIGINAL - landscape plans
PDF icon ORIGINAL - open space
PDF icon ORIGINAL - LEED narrative
PDF icon ORIGINAL - sustainability questionnaire
PDF icon ORIGINAL - mobility management plan
PDF icon ORIGINAL - transportation access plan
PDF icon ORIGINAL - articles of incorporation
PDF icon ORIGINAL - building diagrams
PDF icon ORIGINAL - shadow studies
PDF icon ORIGINAL - architectural drawings
PDF icon ORIGINAL - architectural renderings
PDF icon ORIGINAL - civil plans
PDF icon REVISED - executive summary
PDF icon REVISED - application
PDF icon REVISED - zoning transportation utility
PDF icon REVISED - diagrams & open space
PDF icon REVISED - LEED Sustainability Mobility
PDF icon REVISED - site photos
PDF icon REVISED - landscape plans
PDF icon REVISED - architectural plans & elevations
PDF icon REVISED - transportation access plan
PDF icon REVISED - shadow studies
PDF icon REVISED - renderings
PDF icon REVISED - civil site plans
PDF icon REVISED - stormwater memo
PDF icon Lotting Plan for future subdivision
PDF icon NEW architectural elevations - 101718
PDF icon NEW architectural renderings - 101718
PDF icon NEW architectural plans - 101718
PDF icon NEW landscape plans - 101718
PDF icon NEW mobility management - 101718
PDF icon NEW cover/summary/application - 101718
PDF icon NEW zoning/transportation/application - 101718
PDF icon NEW diagrams/open space/certification - 101718
PDF icon NEW sustainability - 101718
PDF icon NEW transportation access - 101718
PDF icon NEW stormwater memo - 101718
PDF icon NEW civil plans - 101718
PDF icon NEW shadow studies - 101718
PDF icon draft staff report & findings
PDF icon revised report, findings, and draft conditions
PDF icon Decision
01/07/2019 - 2:04pm
McGrath Highway 51 ZBA 2017-46 Jul 12, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 6-19-17
PDF icon Plan Set 10-4-17
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
PDF icon 2nd Updated Staff Report
01/30/2019 - 1:58pm
Beacon Street 312 R ZBA 2018-08 Feb 14, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 1-30-18 01/30/2019 - 2:33pm
Ward 10-12 ZBA 2017-122-E1-121/8 Jan 09, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Previous Decision
PDF icon Staff Memo 01/30/2019 - 2:34pm
Morrison Avenue 2 ZBA 2018-146 Jan 09, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 10-19-18
PDF icon Plan Set 11-08-18
PDF icon Plan Set 12-20-18
PDF icon Staff Report 01/30/2019 - 2:34pm
Mystic Ave 654 ZBA 2018-167 Dec 12, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set approved for building permit PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report 1-7-19
01/30/2019 - 2:40pm
Rush St 20-24 ZBA 2016-140-E1-11-2018 Jan 09, 2019 PDF icon Decision
PDF icon Correction Memo - Decision
PDF icon Staff Report 02/06/2019 - 10:20am
Packard Ave 123 ZBA 2018-165 Jan 09, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Staff Report 02/12/2019 - 9:05am
Moreland Street 74 ZBA 2018-128 Nov 28, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 9-11-18
PDF icon Plan Set 12-24-18
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
02/12/2019 - 9:06am
Taylor 9 ZBA 2018-144 Dec 12, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set - Initial Submission PDF icon Staff Report 02/12/2019 - 9:07am
Otis 28 ZBA 2018-145 Dec 12, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set - Initial Submission PDF icon Staff Report 02/12/2019 - 9:08am
Craigie Street 52-24 ZBA 2018-177 Jan 23, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 12-6-18
PDF icon Plan Set 1-3-18
PDF icon Staff Report 02/12/2019 - 9:08am

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