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
Bay State Ave 11 ZBA 2018-101 Oct 03, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 10/31/2018 - 3:52pm
Elmwood St 41-3 ZBA 2018-123 Oct 03, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 10/23/2018 - 11:36am
Ossipee Rd 26 ZBA 2018-113 Oct 03, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Updated Plans for Nov 7 2018
PDF icon Staff Report 11/14/2018 - 3:04pm
Windsor Street 561 PB 2018-15 Oct 04, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon plan set
PDF icon phasing drawings
PDF icon accessibility narrative
PDF icon schedule of uses
PDF icon staff report
PDF icon revised staff report
PDF icon re-revised staff report
12/14/2018 - 9:40am
Grand Union Boulevard Block 5B PB2017-05-R1-0818 Oct 04, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon plan set
PDF icon revised site plan
PDF icon staff report 11/01/2018 - 6:29pm
Gilman St 108 ZBA 2018-120 Oct 17, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 10/30/2018 - 11:52am
Dane Ave 35 ZBA 2018-116 Oct 17, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 11/16/2018 - 11:25am
Spring Street 34 ZBA 2018-119 Oct 24, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 10-02-18 PDF icon Staff Report 10/30/2018 - 11:54am
Somerville Avenue 515 ZBA 2018-122 Oct 24, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 8-29-18
PDF icon Traffic Study 8-30-18
PDF icon Accessibility Narrative 8-28-18
PDF icon Part 1 of Plan Set 10-4-18
PDF icon Part 2 of Plan Set 10-4-18
PDF icon Revised Traffic Study 10-09-18
PDF icon Staff Report 10/30/2018 - 11:54am
Broadway 1154 ZBA 2018-78 Oct 24, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 5-15-18
PDF icon Plan Set 10-17-18
PDF icon Traffic Study 4-20-18
PDF icon Staff Report 10/30/2018 - 11:53am
Fountain Ave 22-24 ZBA 2018-117 Oct 24, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 11/19/2018 - 9:39am
Mossland St 15 ZBA 2018-124 Nov 07, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Updated Plans November 2018
PDF icon Updated Plans for Dec 12 2018
PDF icon Stamped Plot Plan for Dec 12, 2018
PDF icon Staff Report 12/26/2018 - 1:40pm
Franklin Street 30 ZBA 2018-126 Nov 07, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 10-2-18
PDF icon Plan Set 10-8-18
PDF icon Plan Set 11-2-18
PDF icon Staff Report 11/19/2018 - 9:51am
Alpine 81-83 ZBA 2018-141 Nov 07, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon ADA
PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Shadow Study
PDF icon Updated plans for March 20, 2019
PDF icon Updated Plans for June 5, 2019 ZBA
PDF icon Staff Report 07/02/2019 - 11:15am
Beacon Street 292-294 ZBA 2018-118 Nov 07, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 10-2-18 PDF icon Staff Report 11/19/2018 - 12:08pm

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