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
Linwood Street 161 ZBA 2015-49-R2-10/18 Nov 07, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 8-21-18 PDF icon Staff Report 11/19/2018 - 12:09pm
Village Terrace 2 ZBA 2018-132 Nov 07, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans (10.23.18) PDF icon Staff Report 11/19/2018 - 12:07pm
Alewife Brook Pkwy 395 ZBA 2018-40 Nov 07, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Plans for November 28, 2018
PDF icon Updated Plans for November 28, 2018
PDF icon Staff Report 12/12/2018 - 10:22am
Broadway 112 PB 2016-11-R1-10/18 Nov 08, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Staff Report 11/26/2018 - 3:53pm
Dawes Street (Cambridge Crossing/NorthPoint Parcel EF) 250 PB2017-23-MA1-0818 Nov 08, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon plan set PDF icon staff report 11/26/2018 - 3:57pm
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
Somerville Avenue 311 PB2018-16 Nov 08, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon plan set PDF icon staff report 12/06/2018 - 3:05pm
Prescott Street 57 ZBA 2018-150 Nov 28, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 10-17-18
PDF icon Plan Set 12-06-18
PDF icon Staff Report 12/19/2018 - 12:36pm
Oxford Street 134-136 ZBA 2018-155 Nov 28, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 10-10-18 PDF icon Staff Report 12/12/2018 - 10:18am
Dimick Street 68 ZBA 2018-151 Nov 28, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 10-24-18
PDF icon Accessibility Narrative 10-25-18
PDF icon Plan Set 1-16-19
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
02/12/2019 - 9:09am
Pearson Avenue 68 ZBA 2018-134 Nov 28, 2018 PDF icon Pearson Ave 68-70.pdf PDF icon Plan Set 9-10-18 PDF icon Staff Report 12/04/2018 - 1:06pm
Moreland Street 74 ZBA 2018-128 Nov 28, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 9-11-18
PDF icon Plan Set 12-24-18
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
02/12/2019 - 9:06am
Spring Hill Terrace 7 ZBA 2018-153 Nov 28, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 11-7-18
PDF icon Survey 9-25-18
PDF icon Staff Report 12/12/2018 - 10:20am
Windsor Rd 38-40 ZBA 2018-133 Nov 28, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Updated plans for Dec 12 2018
PDF icon Windsor Rd 38 - 40 - Final Plan set for Dec 12 2018
PDF icon Staff Report 12/19/2018 - 11:59am
Myrtle St 61 ZBA 2018-140 Nov 28, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Updated Plan Set
PDF icon Plan Set for Feb 6 2019
03/11/2019 - 2:26pm

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