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.

Streetsort descending Number Case Number First Hearing Date Decisions Other Reports Updated date
Assembly Row Block 4 4 PB 2011-15 Oct 06, 2011 PDF icon ASQ Block 4 Combined Decision.pdf PDF icon Architectural Renderings, Plans and Elevations
PDF icon Civil Plans
PDF icon Open Space Plan
PDF icon DRC 7-28-11
PDF icon DRC 9-8-11
PDF icon Staff Report 06/25/2014 - 4:29pm
Assembly Row Block 5 5 PB 2014-34 Feb 05, 2015 PDF icon AssemblyRowBlock5 (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 02/23/2015 - 9:20am
Assembly Row Block 5 5 PB 2014-34-R1(5/2015) Jun 25, 2015 PDF icon ASQBlock5 (Rev-Combined).pdf PDF icon Plans 06.2015
PDF icon Plans 07.2015
PDF icon Staff Report 06.2015
PDF icon Staff Report 07.2015
07/28/2015 - 10:31am
Assembly Row Block 5 5 PB 2012-13 Aug 02, 2012 PDF icon ASQBlocks5(Combined).pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 10.02.12 06/25/2014 - 4:30pm
Assembly Row Block 5 5 PB 2014-34-R2(2/2016) May 24, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/17/2018 - 1:38pm
Assembly Row Block 5 5 (Waiver) ZBA 2014-34 PDF icon AssemblyRowBlock5#2.pdf 05/13/2015 - 4:40pm
Assembly Row Block 6 6 PB 2012-14 Aug 02, 2012 PDF icon ASQBlocks6(Combined).pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/25/2014 - 4:30pm
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
Assembly Row Block 7 7 PB 2014-29 Oct 16, 2014 PDF icon ASQ Block 7 (Combined).pdf PDF icon Staff Report 02/19/2015 - 10:00am
Assembly Row Block 7 7 PB 2014-33 Nov 21, 2014 PDF icon ASQBlock7 #2014-33 (COMBINED).pdf PDF icon Staff Report 02/19/2015 - 9:58am
Assembly Row Block 9 9 PB 2015-07 Jun 25, 2015 PDF icon ASQBlock9 (Combined).pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 07/28/2015 - 10:32am
Assembly Row Preliminary Master Plan Revision 2 PMP PB 2006-59-R2(5/2014) Jun 19, 2014 PDF icon AssemblyRowPUDPMPwAttachments.pdf PDF icon Application
PDF icon Civil Plans
PDF icon Open Space Plan
PDF icon Rendered Site Plans
PDF icon Design Guidelines
PDF icon Transportation 1
PDF icon Transportation 2
PDF icon Utilities
PDF icon Utilities Appendices 1
PDF icon Utilities Appendices 2
PDF icon Staff Report 6.12.2014
PDF icon Staff Report 6.19.2014
09/10/2014 - 10:26am
Assembly Row Preliminary Master Plan Revision 3 0 PB 2006-59-R3(1/2016) Feb 18, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Staff Report 09/17/2018 - 1:41pm
Assembly Row Public Assembly Use - Assembly Sq Dr 201 PB2013-12 Jun 06, 2013 PDF icon AssemblySq201Combined.pdf PDF icon Plans - Site / Floor
PDF icon Plans - Tent 1 of 2
PDF icon Plans - Tent 2 of 2
PDF icon Staff Report 06/25/2014 - 2:13pm
Assembly Square - Grand Union Boulevard 500 (Block 5B) PB 2017-05 Apr 20, 2017 PDF icon ASQBlock5B-REVISED_Decision-CleanCopy (Combined).pdf PDF icon Index & Executive Summary
PDF icon Application & Waiver Request
PDF icon Open Space & Architectural
PDF icon Shadow Study & LEED Checklist
PDF icon Staff Report 08/06/2018 - 11:50am

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