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 currently the chair of the Zoning Board of Appeals as Chair. She 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.

  • Richard Rossetti, Clerk

Richard Rossetti has served on the Zoning Board of Appeals for over 14 years and is the Distribution Manager for the Spaulding Brick Company. He has also held a position with the Somerville Dreams For Youth Foundation and served 8 years on the Somerville High School Scholarship Foundation. He is a two-time member of the award-winning Somerville All-American City delegation.

  • Danielle Evans

Danielle 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.

  • Anne Brockelman, Alternate

Anne Brockelman, AIA, LEED AP BD+C is an architect with 17 years of experience and the Associate Principal at Perry Dean Rogers Partners Architects and Director of Sustainable Design. She graduated from Wesleyan University with a B.A. in Art History and Studio Art and a Master of Architecture from Harvard University's Graduate School of Design. She also has served as adjunct faculty at the Boston Architectural College since 2001 and received the Certificate in Design Education in 2006.

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 Numbersort descending Case Number First Hearing Date Decisions Other Reports Updated date
ASMD Phase 1AA -EXT PB2007-29-R0809 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
ASMD Phase 1AA -ASD PB2007-29-R0709 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
ASMD Phase 1AA -ASD PB2007-29-R1108 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
ASMD Phase 1AA PB2009-05 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
ASMD Phase 1AA -ASD PB2009-05-R-1109 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
ASMD Phase 1AA -IKEA PB2007-29-R0908 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
ASMD Phase 1AAA -Marketplace PB2009-13 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Fremont St 0 ZBA 2017-130 Dec 22, 2017 PDF icon Initial Plan Set Dec 4 2017 12/22/2017 - 4:51pm
North Point 0 PB 2014-29 Oct 16, 2014 PDF icon Northpoint.pdf PDF icon Neighborhood Development Plan PDF icon Staff Report 02/19/2015 - 9:57am
Dane Street 0 ZBA 2016-76 Jul 14, 2016 PDF icon Decision 03/09/2017 - 8:37am
Crown St 0 ZBA 2012-94 Dec 12, 2012 PDF icon CrownSt0.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Memo 1.3.13
03/29/2013 - 11:32am
Benton Rd 1 PB2009-17 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Howe Street 1 ZBA 2016-88 Feb 15, 2017 PDF icon Decision 03/03/2017 - 9:41am
Benton Rd 1 PB 2010-60-R1-4-2012 May 17, 2012 PDF icon BentonRd1-decision _2_.pdf PDF icon Decision on Motion for Summary Judgment
PDF icon Plans
05/25/2012 - 8:57am
Westwood Rd 1 ZBA 2012-29 May 02, 2012 PDF icon WestwoodRd1.pdf PDF icon Plot & Site Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/11/2012 - 1:02pm

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