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
Rogers Ave 76-78 ZBA 2018-95 Sep 17, 2018 PDF icon Rogers76.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/27/2018 - 2:54pm
Dane Ave 15 ZBA 2015-97 Sep 18, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/18/2018 - 1:26pm
Hawthorne Street 28 ZBA 2016-142 Sep 19, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans 09/19/2018 - 12:08pm
Summer Street 343, 345, 349, & 351 ZBA 2011-54 Sep 20, 2018 PDF icon Staff Report 09/20/2018 - 7:27pm
Lexington Ave 24 ZBA 2016-20 Sep 20, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/20/2018 - 12:32pm
Medford Street 466 ZBA 2017-08 Sep 20, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans 09/20/2018 - 2:25pm
Elm Street 56 ZBA 2018-108 Oct 03, 2018 PDF icon Plan Set 8-9-18 09/05/2018 - 12:01pm
Summer Street 3-5 ZBA 2018-107 Oct 03, 2018 PDF icon 3 - 5 Summer Street.pdf PDF icon Accessibility Narrative 7-2-18
PDF icon Plan Set 9-27-18
PDF icon Staff Report 10/10/2018 - 1:13pm
Windsor Road 5 ZBA 2018-114 Oct 03, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 8-14-18
PDF icon Plot Plan 4-17-18
PDF icon Staff Report 12/26/2018 - 11:10am
Hillside Park 7 ZBA 2018-115 Oct 03, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 8-29-18 PDF icon Staff Report 12/03/2018 - 3:32pm
Chestnut Street 28 ZBA 2018-100 Oct 03, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon parking study
PDF icon drawing set
PDF icon environmental report
PDF icon updated parking memo
PDF icon staff report
PDF icon revised report
12/19/2018 - 11:28am
Illinois Ave 15-17 ZBA 2018-110 Oct 03, 2018 PDF icon 15 - 17 Illinois Avenue.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 10/17/2018 - 10:52am
Fitchburg Street 28 ZBA 2018-99 Oct 03, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon drawing set
PDF icon parking study
PDF icon environmental report
PDF icon sample schematic elevations - later application
PDF icon updated parking memo
PDF icon staff report
PDF icon revised report
12/19/2018 - 11:34am
Cameron Ave 45 ZBA 2016-81-R1-(08/18) Oct 03, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Staff Report 12/06/2018 - 9:43am
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

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