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
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
Porter St 23 ZBA 2011-60 Aug 17, 2011 PDF icon PorterSt23.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Updated Plans 8-31-11
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Staff Report 9-1-11
10/12/2011 - 12:00pm
Paulina St 33 ZBA 2011-63 Sep 07, 2011 PDF icon PaulinaSt33.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 10/12/2011 - 11:59am
Newbury St 48 ZBA 2011-67 Sep 21, 2011 PDF icon NewburySt48.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 10/12/2011 - 11:58am
Highland Ave 363 ZBA 2011-66 Sep 21, 2011 PDF icon HighlandAve363 _#2011-66_.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 10/12/2011 - 11:56am
Highland Ave 400 ZBA 2011-64 Sep 21, 2011 PDF icon HighlandAve400.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 10/12/2011 - 11:55am
Broadway 1100 ZBA 2011-65 Sep 21, 2011 PDF icon Broadway1100.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 10/12/2011 - 11:48am
Broadway 1323 ZBA 2011-62 Sep 07, 2011 PDF icon Broadway1323.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Traffic Analysis
PDF icon Phase I Environmental Site Assessment
PDF icon Phase II Site Investigation
PDF icon Limited Asbestos Materials Survey Report
PDF icon Staff Report 10/12/2011 - 11:47am
Adrian St 39 ZBA 2011-61 Sep 21, 2011 PDF icon AdrianSt39.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 10/12/2011 - 11:45am
ASQ IKEA Phase IAA (Middlesex Ave) 133 PB 2009-05-E1 (6/2011) Jul 14, 2011 PDF icon MiddlesexAve133w-letter.pdf PDF icon Staff Report 09/23/2011 - 2:12pm
Warren Ave 15 ZBA 2010-69 Oct 15, 2010 PDF icon WarrenAve15.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon PB Report
09/09/2011 - 11:30am
Concord Ave 32 ZBA 2011-38 Jun 22, 2011 PDF icon ConcordAve32.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/09/2011 - 11:29am

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