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
Houghton Street 21 ZBA 2018-187 Feb 06, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 12-20-18 PDF icon Staff Report 03/06/2019 - 11:40am
Oliver Street 50 ZBA 2018-186 Feb 06, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 12-18-18
PDF icon Accessibility Letter 12-18-18
PDF icon Site Diagram 9-25-18
PDF icon Staff Report 03/06/2019 - 11:23am
Bonner Avenue 14 ZBA 2018-172 Feb 06, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 1-15-19 PDF icon Staff Report 03/06/2019 - 11:28am
Albion St 65 ZBA 2018-179 Feb 06, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Plot Plan
PDF icon Staff Report 03/11/2019 - 2:29pm
Winslow Avenue 37 ZBA 2018-188 Feb 06, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set - Initial Submission PDF icon Staff Report 02/27/2019 - 10:25am
Mystic Valley Parkway 527 ZBA 2018-163 Feb 06, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set PDF icon Staff Report 03/11/2019 - 2:28pm
Flint St 62 ZBA 2018-163 Feb 06, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 03/11/2019 - 2:27pm
Cutler 14 ZBA 2018-180 Feb 06, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set - Initial Submission
PDF icon Plan Set 4-7-19
PDF icon Survey
PDF icon Plan Set 3-17-19
PDF icon Plan Set 4-29-19
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Staff Report 5-15-19
PDF icon Staff Report 6-19-19
07/02/2019 - 11:14am
Medford Street 496-500 ZBA 2018-185 Feb 06, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 1-7-19 PDF icon Staff Report 04/12/2019 - 9:31am
Willow Avenue 233 ZBA 2018-183 Feb 06, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 1-08-19
PDF icon Plan Set 1-17-19
PDF icon Staff Report 03/06/2019 - 12:02pm
Roland Street / Inner Belt Rd 56 / 0 & 20 ZBA 2018-142 & ZBA 2018-143 Feb 06, 2019 PDF icon Decision - 0 Inner Belt
PDF icon Decision - 56 Roland
PDF icon Extension - 56 Roland
PDF icon Extension - 0 Inner Belt
PDF icon Proposed Plan Set 10-10-18
PDF icon Phase 1 Env. Report 10-7-17
PDF icon Stormwater Memo 10-10-18
PDF icon Traffic Memo 10-18
PDF icon Plan Set 12-13-18
PDF icon Renderings 12-13-18
PDF icon TIAS November 2018
PDF icon Access Plan 1-3-19
PDF icon Plan Set 1-3-19
PDF icon Landscape Plans
PDF icon Hotel Draft Report
PDF icon Mixed Use Draft Report
PDF icon Hotel Staff Report
PDF icon Mixed Use Staff Report
02/18/2020 - 11:27am
Temple Street 15 PB 2018-20 Feb 07, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Staff Report 10-16-18 PDF icon Staff Report 03/11/2019 - 2:30pm
Irving 39 ZBA 2018-178 Feb 20, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Updated plans for Feb 20 2019
PDF icon Updated Plans for March 6, 2019 ZBA
PDF icon Updated Plans for April 3, 2019 ZBA
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Staff Report - Updated for March 6, 2019
PDF icon Staff Report - Updated for April 3, 2019
04/18/2019 - 9:54am
Quincy 13 ZBA 2018-156 Feb 20, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 03/19/2019 - 12:27pm
Oliver St 47 ZBA 2018-194 Feb 20, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Plan Set for March 6, 2019 ZBA
PDF icon Plan Set for April 17, 2019
PDF icon Updated Plans for June 5, 2019 ZBA
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
07/08/2019 - 9:08am

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