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 ascending
Broadway 272 ZBA 2010-29-R1 (11/2011) Dec 07, 2011 PDF icon Broadway272 _R11-11_.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 12/16/2011 - 11:30am
Edmands 21 ZBA 2011-88 Dec 07, 2011 PDF icon EdmandsSt21.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 12/16/2011 - 11:30am
College Ave / Highland Ave 1 / 419 ZBA 2011-87 Dec 07, 2011 PDF icon CollegeAve1-HighlandAve419.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 12/16/2011 - 11:29am
Somerville Ave 379 PB 2011-19 Nov 17, 2011 PDF icon SomervilleAve379.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 12/16/2011 - 11:29am
Summer St 143 ZBA 2011-78 Nov 02, 2011 PDF icon SummerSt143 _WWOP_.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 12/16/2011 - 11:28am
Central St 173 ZBA 2011-84 Nov 30, 2011 PDF icon CentralSt173.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 12/16/2011 - 11:27am
Park St 44 ZBA 2011-83 Nov 30, 2011 PDF icon ParkSt44.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 12/16/2011 - 11:26am
Broadway 1180 ZBA 2005-32-R1-10/2011 Nov 16, 2011 PDF icon Broadway1180 (R-10-2011).pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Parking Impact Assessment Memorandum
PDF icon Staff Report 12/02/2011 - 12:20pm
Rogers Ave 40 ZBA 2011-82 Nov 16, 2011 PDF icon RogersAve40.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 12/02/2011 - 12:20pm
Tyler St 8 ZBA 2011-80 Nov 16, 2011 PDF icon TylerSt8.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 12/02/2011 - 12:19pm
Inner Belt Rd 70 & 100 ZBA 2007-63-R2 (8/2011) Sep 07, 2011 PDF icon InnerBeltRd70.pdf PDF icon Existing Conditions
PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Renderings
PDF icon DRC 9-8-11
PDF icon Staff Report 11/08/2011 - 8:38am
Highland Ave 363 ZBA 2011-36 Jun 08, 2011 PDF icon HighlandAve363.pdf PDF icon Plans 10/14/2011 - 1:01pm
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
Brastow Ave 50 ZBA 2011-18 Apr 20, 2011 PDF icon BrastowAve50.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon PB Report
PDF icon Plans
10/12/2011 - 12:04pm
Union Sq 15 PB 2011-13 Sep 15, 2011 PDF icon UnionSq15.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 10/12/2011 - 12:02pm

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