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 Number Case Number First Hearing Date Decisions Other Reports Updated datesort ascending
Prospect Street 10-50 (Alley) PB 2019-03 Apr 04, 2019 PDF icon Thoroughfare Plan Set 2-13-19
PDF icon Thoroughfare Plan Set 4-16-19
PDF icon Abramson Memo 5-15-19
PDF icon Planning Director Memo 6-6-19
PDF icon Staff Report 07/09/2019 - 9:35am
Ward St 10-12 ZBA 2017-122-R1-2019 May 15, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set - Proposed Revisions
PDF icon Updated Revision Set for June 19, 2019
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report for June 19 2019 ZBA
07/08/2019 - 9:10am
College Ave 118-124 ZBA 2018-166 Dec 12, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Staff Report 07/08/2019 - 9:09am
Oliver St 47 ZBA 2018-194 Feb 20, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Plan Set for March 6, 2019 ZBA
PDF icon Plan Set for April 17, 2019
PDF icon Updated Plans for June 5, 2019 ZBA
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
07/08/2019 - 9:08am
Vernon St 60 ZBA 2019-38 Jun 19, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set - Initial Submission
PDF icon Updated Plan Set for June 19, 2019 ZBA
PDF icon Staff Report 07/08/2019 - 9:08am
Sewall Street 47 ZBA 2018-154 Dec 12, 2018 PDF icon Decision 07/08/2019 - 9:07am
Wheatland Street 96 ZBA 2018-175 May 15, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 6-11-18
PDF icon Survey 5-15-18
PDF icon Plan Set 4-25-19
PDF icon Plan Set 5-30-19
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
07/02/2019 - 11:17am
Wallace Street 76 ZBA 2019-51 Jun 19, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 5-23-19
PDF icon Plan Set 6-13-19
PDF icon Staff Report 07/02/2019 - 11:16am
Alpine 81-83 ZBA 2018-141 Nov 07, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon ADA
PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Shadow Study
PDF icon Updated plans for March 20, 2019
PDF icon Updated Plans for June 5, 2019 ZBA
PDF icon Staff Report 07/02/2019 - 11:15am
Tennyson Street 39 ZBA 2018-149 May 15, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 10-19-18
PDF icon Plan Set 4-29-19
PDF icon Plan Set 4-30-19
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
07/02/2019 - 11:14am
Cutler 14 ZBA 2018-180 Feb 06, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set - Initial Submission
PDF icon Plan Set 4-7-19
PDF icon Survey
PDF icon Plan Set 3-17-19
PDF icon Plan Set 4-29-19
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Staff Report 5-15-19
PDF icon Staff Report 6-19-19
07/02/2019 - 11:14am
Bromfield Rd 106 ZBA 2019-44 Jun 05, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set - Initial Submission 07/02/2019 - 11:09am
McGrath Highway 434 ZBA 2018-19-R1-4/19 Jun 06, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 5-22-19 PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
07/02/2019 - 11:08am
Summer Street 7 ZBA 2018-107-R1-5/19 Jun 05, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 5-1-19 PDF icon Staff Report 07/02/2019 - 11:07am
Somerville Ave 391-395 ZBA 2019-37 May 15, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Updated plans for June 19, 2019 ZBA
PDF icon Staff Report 07/02/2019 - 11:06am

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