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 Numbersort ascending Case Number First Hearing Date Decisions Other Reports Updated date
Clyde St (Maxpak Driveway)  42 ZBA2008-69 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
13 School Street ZBA #2016-33 Apr 20, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/20/2018 - 7:09pm
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
NorthPoint Parcel JK loading dock SP PB 2016-18 Nov 17, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans 09/20/2018 - 6:18pm
NorthPoint Parcel JK - loading docks V ZBA 2016-137 Nov 07, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans 09/20/2018 - 6:10pm
NorthPoint Parcel JK - Design & Site Plan PB 2016-21 Nov 08, 2016 PDF icon Northpoint Parcel JK (#PB 2016-21) (1).pdf 09/20/2018 - 6:16pm
NorthPoint Parcel EF PB 2017-23 Dec 14, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon plan set
PDF icon civil set
PDF icon application package
PDF icon revised application package - 12.05.17
PDF icon Staff Report 08/07/2018 - 1:17pm
NorthPoint Open Space EF/G PB 2017-24 Dec 14, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon drawing set
PDF icon application package
PDF icon revised application package - 12.05.17
PDF icon Staff Report 08/07/2018 - 8:58am
43 Oak ZBA 2016-89 Oct 05, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/20/2018 - 6:25pm
Cambridge Crossing (formerly NorthPoint) Neighborhood Development Plan PB 2014-29-MA3-0818 Nov 08, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon application
PDF icon PB presentation
PDF icon staff report 11/26/2018 - 4:03pm
NorthPoint NDP PB 2014-29-MA-0916 Nov 17, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans 09/20/2018 - 6:22pm
n/a n/a Housing Policy Changes Dec 07, 2016 PDF icon ZBA Decision
PDF icon PB Decision
08/06/2018 - 11:37am
17-25 / 227-229 Murdock Street / Cedar Street ZBA 2016-129 Jan 18, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Staff Report 09/20/2018 - 4:42pm
21 Magnus ZBA 2015-104 Feb 17, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/20/2018 - 12:42pm
88 Line Street ZBA 2017-73-R1-3/19 Apr 17, 2019 PDF icon Decision 04/25/2019 - 3:08pm

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