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
Landers St 11 ZBA 2014-117 Jan 07, 2015 PDF icon LandersSt11.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 02/19/2015 - 9:56am
Fiske Ave 11 ZBA 2018-109 Oct 03, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Updated plans for Feb 20 2019
PDF icon Staff Memorandum 03/05/2019 - 7:29pm
Robinson St 11 ZBA 2018-07 Jul 18, 2018 PDF icon Decision
PDF icon Memo
PDF icon Plans for July 18 2018 PDF icon Staff Report 07/27/2018 - 11:33am
Prospect St 109-111 ZBA 2018-139 Dec 12, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set Memo
PDF icon Plan Set 10-4-2018
PDF icon Plan Set for 2-6-2019 ZBA
PDF icon Plan Set for 2-20-2019 ZBA
PDF icon Plot Plan
PDF icon Staff Report 03/12/2019 - 1:28pm
Porter Street 109 ZBA 2017-126 Jan 03, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 10-26-17 PDF icon Staff Report 08/02/2018 - 6:29pm
Hancock St 109 ZBA 2012-22 Apr 18, 2012 PDF icon HancockSt109.pdf PDF icon Plot & Site Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/11/2012 - 1:01pm
College Ave 109 ZBA 2014-77 Sep 03, 2014 PDF icon CollegeAve109.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Revised Site Plan
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Staff Report (Updated)
11/24/2014 - 3:30pm
Gilman St 108 ZBA 2018-120 Oct 17, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 10/30/2018 - 11:52am
School St 107 ZBA 2018-111 Sep 17, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 10/31/2018 - 3:42pm
Broadway 1060 PB 2016-79 Aug 18, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/18/2018 - 11:09am
Broadway 1060 ZBA 2016-79-R1-7-19 Oct 03, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Google drive link to plans PDF icon Broadway 1060 (Powderhouse School - Staff Report.pdf 10/16/2019 - 2:27pm
Orchard St 106 ZBA 2012-23 Apr 18, 2012 PDF icon OrchardSt106.pdf PDF icon Plans 4.3.13
PDF icon Plans 3.20.12
PDF icon Staff Report 3.28.13
PDF icon Staff Report 4.12.12
04/09/2013 - 5:02pm
Bromfield Rd 106 ZBA 2019-44 Jun 05, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set - Initial Submission 07/02/2019 - 11:09am
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
Cross St 105 ZBA 2016-114 Nov 16, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Cross St 105 - Final Plan Set.pdf PDF icon Staff Report 09/18/2018 - 1:09pm

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