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
Lovell Street 11 ZBA 2018-184 Mar 20, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 1-8-19
PDF icon Plan Set 1-17-19
PDF icon Staff Report 03/26/2019 - 3:08pm
Fellsway West 14B ZBA 2019-06 Mar 20, 2019 PDF icon Fellsway West 14B - Plans.pdf PDF icon Staff Report 03/12/2019 - 5:14pm
Prospect Street 10-50 (subdivision) PB 2019-02 Mar 21, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Subdivision Plan 2-8-19
PDF icon Revised Subdivision Plan 3-13-19
PDF icon Staff Report 07/25/2019 - 3:23pm
Meacham Rd 54 ZBA 2019-22 Apr 03, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set PDF icon Staff Report 04/18/2019 - 9:53am
Whipple St 16 ZBA 2018-173 Apr 03, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Updated plans for September 18, 2019 ZBA
PDF icon Plot Plan
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
09/30/2019 - 7:28pm
Franklin St 84 ZBA 2017-50-R1-08-18 Apr 03, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Memo PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report for May 1 2019
05/22/2019 - 10:49am
Reed Court 7 ZBA 2019-13 Apr 03, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Site Plans
PDF icon Elevations
PDF icon Staff Report 04/25/2019 - 3:32pm
Lake Street 31 ZBA 2019-21 Apr 03, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 2-27-19
PDF icon Plan Set 3-21-19
PDF icon Staff Report 04/12/2019 - 9:36am
Linwood Street 161 ZBA 2015-49-R3-03/19 Apr 03, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 1-30-19 PDF icon Staff Report 04/12/2019 - 9:35am
Prospect Street 10 (D2.1) PB 2019-04 Apr 04, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Zoning Compliance (initial submittal)
PDF icon Environmental Analysis (initial submittal)
PDF icon Mobility Management Plan (initial submittal)
PDF icon Plan Set (initial submittal)
PDF icon Transportation Access Plan (initial submittal)
PDF icon Zoning Compliance (revised 3-26-19 submittal)
PDF icon Plan Set (revised 3-26-19 submittal)
PDF icon Transportation Access Plan (revised 3-26-19 submittal)
PDF icon Project Narrative
PDF icon Anticipated Schedule
PDF icon Abramson Memo 5-15-19
PDF icon Planning Director Memo 6-6-19
PDF icon US2 Presentation 6.13.19
PDF icon Resiliency Supplement 6-18-19
PDF icon Final Mobility Management Plan Decision
PDF icon Facade Updates 7-2-19
PDF icon US2 Planning Board Update 7-11-19
PDF icon Preliminary Staff Report
PDF icon Staff Report
07/25/2019 - 3:23pm
Prospect Street 10-50 (Alley) PB 2019-03 Apr 04, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Thoroughfare Plan Set 2-13-19
PDF icon Thoroughfare Plan Set 4-16-19
PDF icon Abramson Memo 5-15-19
PDF icon Planning Director Memo 6-6-19
PDF icon Staff Report 07/25/2019 - 3:23pm
Park Street 44 ZBA 2019-23 Apr 17, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon De Minimis Approval from 2011
PDF icon Drainage Report
PDF icon Pervious Surface Analysis
PDF icon Project Cost Estimate
PDF icon 44 Park St Staff Report.pdf 04/25/2019 - 3:20pm
Victoria Street 43 ZBA 2019-20 Apr 17, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans Microsoft Office document icon Staff Report 04/25/2019 - 3:15pm
Line Street and Cooney Street 88-90 and 18 ZBA 2017-73-R1-3/19 Apr 17, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Basement Plan 3-13-19 PDF icon Staff Report 05/22/2019 - 10:50am
Earle Street 2 ZBA 2018-21-E1-2/19 Apr 17, 2019 PDF icon Decision 04/25/2019 - 1:39pm

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