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
Holland St 167-169 ZBA 2011-46 Jun 22, 2011 PDF icon HollandSt167-169.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/27/2011 - 11:37am
Summer St 68-70 ZBA 2011-41 Jun 08, 2011 PDF icon SummerSt68-70.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/27/2011 - 11:36am
Bromfield Rd 61 ZBA 2011-42 Jun 08, 2011 PDF icon BromfieldRd61.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/21/2011 - 10:20am
Summer St 184 ZBA 2011-43 Jun 08, 2011 PDF icon SummerSt184.pdf PDF icon Attachments PDF icon Staff Report 06/21/2011 - 10:20am
Summer St 168 ZBA 2011-44 Jun 08, 2011 PDF icon SummerSt168.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/21/2011 - 10:19am
Albion St 29R, Unit 1 ZBA 2011-40 Jun 08, 2011 PDF icon AlbionSt29R.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/21/2011 - 10:19am
Third Ave 21 ZBA 2011-39 Jun 08, 2011 PDF icon ThirdAve21.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Traffic Memorandum
PDF icon Level 1 Environmental Site Assessment
PDF icon Staff Report 06/21/2011 - 10:17am
Porter St 23 ZBA 2011-09 May 18, 2011 PDF icon PorterSt23 _SP_ WWOP.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/21/2011 - 10:17am
Porter St 23 ZBA 2011-05 May 18, 2011 PDF icon PorterSt23 _AA_ Denied.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/21/2011 - 10:16am
Elm St 187 ZBA 2011-30 May 04, 2011 PDF icon ElmSt187.pdf PDF icon Staff Report 06/06/2011 - 1:17pm
Davis Sq 37-37a ZBA 2011-28 May 04, 2011 PDF icon DavisSq37-37A.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/06/2011 - 1:16pm
Cedar St 21 ZBA 2011-07 May 04, 2011 PDF icon CedarSt21.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/06/2011 - 1:16pm
Avon St 59 ZBA 2011-25 May 04, 2011 PDF icon AvonSt59.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/06/2011 - 1:15pm
Sanborn Ct / Washington St 9 / 255 PB 2011-09 May 19, 2011 PDF icon SanbornCt9-WashingtonS255.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/06/2011 - 1:12pm
Belmont St 50 ZBA 2011-26 May 18, 2011 PDF icon BelmontSt50.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/06/2011 - 1:11pm

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