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 Numbersort descending First Hearing Date Decisions Other Reports Updated date
Union Sq 73-75 PB 2014-11 May 08, 2014 PDF icon UnionSq73-76.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/27/2014 - 11:26am
Broadway 2-8 PB 2014-12 May 08, 2014 PDF icon Broadway2-8.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Traffic Assessment
PDF icon Site Plan
PDF icon Drainage Report
PDF icon Traffic Assessment Updated
PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Plans 2014.05
PDF icon Staff Report 10/19/2015 - 3:40pm
Broadway 2-8 PB 2014-12-R1(/3/2016) Apr 28, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/18/2018 - 11:35am
Broadway 77 PB 2014-13 May 21, 2014 PDF icon Broadway77.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 08/28/2014 - 9:52am
Mystic Ave 65-75 PB 2014-14 May 22, 2014 PDF icon MysticAve75.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 10/03/2014 - 11:43am
Broadway 83-91 PB 2014-15 Jun 19, 2014 PDF icon Broadway83-91.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 08/28/2014 - 9:53am
Assembly Row Block 11 (399 Revolution Dr/Grand Union Blvd) 11 PB 2014-17 Jul 10, 2014 PDF icon AssemblyRowBlock11wAppendix.pdf PDF icon Civil Plans
PDF icon Arch Plans & Perspectives
PDF icon Open Space Plan
PDF icon Utility Analysis
PDF icon LEED Worksheet
PDF icon Presentation to DRC (Renderings, Shadow Studies, Connectivity)
PDF icon Transportation Analysis
PDF icon Transportation Appendix
PDF icon Staff Report 11/20/2014 - 11:50am
Somerville Ave 515 PB 2014-18 Oct 01, 2014 PDF icon Rendering
PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Civil Plans
PDF icon Drainage Report
PDF icon Shadow Study
PDF icon 3D Views
02/19/2015 - 9:58am
Medford St 35-37 PB 2014-19 Jul 10, 2014 PDF icon MedfordSt35-37.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 07/25/2014 - 11:36am
Broadway 337-341 PB 2014-20 Apr 02, 2015 PDF icon Broadway337 (#2014-20) (Signage).pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 07/09/2015 - 6:54pm
Somerville Ave 185 PB 2014-21 Aug 21, 2014 PDF icon SomervilleAve185.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 08/28/2014 - 9:29am
Somerville Ave 314-316 PB 2014-22 Aug 21, 2014 PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/26/2014 - 9:25am
McGrath Hwy 434 PB 2014-23 Aug 21, 2014 PDF icon McGrathHwy434.pdf PDF icon Plans 10-7-2014
PDF icon Civil Plans
PDF icon Drainage Report
PDF icon Updated Landscape plan
PDF icon Staff Report 11/03/2014 - 9:12am
Assembly Row Block 6 6 PB 2014-24 Sep 04, 2014 PDF icon ASQ Block 6 (PB 2014-24)(COMBINED).pdf PDF icon Summary
PDF icon Accessibility Narrative
PDF icon Transportation Narrative
PDF icon Civil Plans
PDF icon Open Space Plan
PDF icon Architectural Plans
PDF icon Utility Analysis
PDF icon Water System Analysis
PDF icon Shadow Study
PDF icon LEED Checklist
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Revised Elevations 2014.09.25
10/15/2014 - 3:59pm
Medford St 61 PB 2014-25 Sep 18, 2014 PDF icon MedfordSt61(#2014-25).pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 02/19/2015 - 9:58am

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