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
Warwick St 26 ZBA 2014-100 Nov 05, 2014 PDF icon WarwickSt26.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 02/23/2015 - 10:23am
Warwick Street 12 ZBA 2016-105 Nov 02, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/21/2018 - 10:10am
Washington 3 ZBA 2016-44 Apr 20, 2016 PDF icon WashingtonSt3.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon 3 Washington SR.pdf 09/21/2018 - 10:13am
Washington 121 ZBA 2019-111 Nov 06, 2019 PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Updated plans
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Washington St 121 - Staff Report UPDATED.pdf
12/09/2019 - 10:29am
Washington 103 ZBA 2017-53-E1-08-19 Nov 06, 2019 PDF icon Applicant Statement for Extension PDF icon Staff Report 10/28/2019 - 6:39pm
Washington St 352 ZBA 2016-146 Jan 04, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/21/2018 - 10:13am
Washington St 373 ZBA 2012-70 Sep 05, 2012 PDF icon WashingtonSt373.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon 21E Environmental Report
PDF icon Staff Report 10/05/2012 - 10:38am
Washington St 160 ZBA 2013-16 Apr 17, 2013 PDF icon WashingtonSt160.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Reort 04/24/2013 - 12:29pm
Washington St 285 ZBA 2016-07 Mar 02, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Staff Report 09/21/2018 - 10:15am
Washington St 105-107 ZBA 2017-91 Feb 14, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set for Feb 14, 2018 PDF icon Staff Report 08/03/2018 - 11:34am
Washington St 181 PB 2016-03 Mar 03, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/21/2018 - 10:16am
Washington St 181 & 197 PB 2014-01 Feb 19, 2014 PDF icon WashingtonSt181&197.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Traffic Assessment
PDF icon Stormwater Report
PDF icon Plans 1.31.14
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Memo
03/12/2014 - 2:31pm
Washington St 263 ZBA 2017-40 Oct 04, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Washington St 263 - Final Plans.pdf PDF icon Washington St 263 - Staff Report.pdf 08/06/2018 - 12:29pm
Washington St 197 PB 2015-11 Oct 22, 2015 PDF icon WashingtonSt197 (WWOP).pdf PDF icon Plan
PDF icon Transportation Memo
PDF icon Staff Report 11/02/2015 - 12:58pm
Washington St 253 PB 2011-11 Jun 09, 2011 PDF icon WashingtonSt253.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon DRC 5-26-11
PDF icon Staff Report 06/30/2011 - 4:31pm

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