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 Number Case Number First Hearing Datesort descending Decisions Other Reports Updated date
Morgan Ave 0 PB 2019-23 Nov 21, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 01/15/2020 - 8:54am
Sanborn Court 9 PB 2019-24 Nov 21, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Existing Floor Plan
PDF icon Proposed Floor Plan
PDF icon Cover Letter
01/08/2020 - 3:44pm
Medford St 345 ZBA 2019-108 Dec 11, 2019 PDF icon Plans PDF icon Medford St 345 - Staff Report (POST).pdf 12/10/2019 - 9:53am
Highland Avenue 20 ZBA 2019-118 Dec 11, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set 10-3-19 PDF icon Highland Ave 20 - Staff Report (POST).pdf 12/10/2019 - 9:22am
Jaques Street 87 ZBA 2019-82 Dec 11, 2019 PDF icon Updated Plan Set PDF icon Updated Staff Report 12/06/2019 - 12:51pm
Clarendon Hill 00 ZBA 2019-115 Dec 11, 2019 PDF icon Project Narrative
PDF icon Plan Set 10-7-19
PDF icon Traffic Study 9-19
10/31/2019 - 10:51am
Woods Ave 75-77 ZBA 2019-126 Dec 11, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Woods Ave 75-77 - Plans (POST).pdf PDF icon Woods Ave 75-77 - Staff Report.pdf 01/08/2020 - 4:31pm
Jacques Street 87 ZBA 2019-82 Dec 12, 2019 PDF icon SomervilleAve337Unit2-StaffReport_121219.pdf 12/06/2019 - 8:48am
Somerville Avenue 337 ZBA 2019-26 Dec 19, 2019 PDF icon 19069_377 Somerville Ave_ZBA Submission_102219_stamped.pdf PDF icon SomervilleAve337Unit2-StaffReport_121219.pdf 12/10/2019 - 12:36pm
Beacon St 175 DRA#2020-0016 Jan 22, 2020 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans 02/18/2020 - 11:44am
Mossland St 15 ZBA 2018-124-R1 Feb 05, 2020 PDF icon Plan Set PDF icon Staff Report 01/31/2020 - 1:29am
Somerville Ave 515 AA2020-0001 Feb 26, 2020 PDF icon Staff Report 02/20/2020 - 3:16pm
Clarendon Hill 00 40B#2020-0001 Mar 11, 2020 PDF icon Jan 22, 2020 ZBA Overview
PDF icon Feb 10, 2020 Full Submission
02/13/2020 - 8:42am
Somerville Ave 453 ZBA #2019-114-R1 12/19 Mar 11, 2020 PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Views
03/06/2020 - 12:04pm
Hawkins St 3 DRA 2020-0018 Mar 11, 2020 PDF icon Hawkins 3 - Variance Application.pdf 03/25/2020 - 9:05am

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