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
Irving 39 ZBA 2018-178 Feb 20, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Updated plans for Feb 20 2019
PDF icon Updated Plans for March 6, 2019 ZBA
PDF icon Updated Plans for April 3, 2019 ZBA
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Staff Report - Updated for March 6, 2019
PDF icon Staff Report - Updated for April 3, 2019
04/18/2019 - 9:54am
Meacham Rd 54 ZBA 2019-22 Apr 03, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set PDF icon Staff Report 04/18/2019 - 9:53am
Beacon Street 292 ZBA 2018-118-R1-2/19 Mar 20, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Front Elevation 3-6-19 04/12/2019 - 9:42am
Robinson Street 24-26 ZBA 2019-14 Mar 20, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 1-31-19
PDF icon Plan Set 3-13-19
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
04/12/2019 - 9:40am
Lake Street 31 ZBA 2019-21 Apr 03, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 2-27-19
PDF icon Plan Set 3-21-19
PDF icon Staff Report 04/12/2019 - 9:36am
Linwood Street 161 ZBA 2015-49-R3-03/19 Apr 03, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 1-30-19 PDF icon Staff Report 04/12/2019 - 9:35am
Medford Street 496-500 ZBA 2018-185 Feb 06, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 1-7-19 PDF icon Staff Report 04/12/2019 - 9:31am
Tremont St 169 ZBA 2019-17 Apr 17, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set 03/26/2019 - 7:46pm
Greenville Street 7-9 ZBA 2018-169 Mar 06, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 11-14-18
PDF icon Plan Set 2-6-19
PDF icon Plan Set 3-14-19
PDF icon Staff Report 03/26/2019 - 3:14pm
Knowlton Street 29 ZBA 2019-09 Mar 20, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set - Initial Submission PDF icon Staff Report 03/26/2019 - 3:12pm
Broadway 898 ZBA 2019-12 Mar 20, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 2-2-19 PDF icon Staff Report 03/26/2019 - 3:09pm
Lovell Street 11 ZBA 2018-184 Mar 20, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 1-8-19
PDF icon Plan Set 1-17-19
PDF icon Staff Report 03/26/2019 - 3:08pm
Quincy 13 ZBA 2018-156 Feb 20, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 03/19/2019 - 12:27pm
Garrison Ave 24 ZBA 2018-181 Jan 23, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Updated plans for Feb 20 2019
PDF icon Updated table for March 20 2019 ZBA
PDF icon Staff Report 03/12/2019 - 7:48pm
Fellsway West 14B ZBA 2019-06 Mar 20, 2019 PDF icon Fellsway West 14B - Plans.pdf PDF icon Staff Report 03/12/2019 - 5:14pm

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