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 Date Decisions Other Reports Updated datesort descending
Somerville Ave 346 ZBA 2019-19 Feb 26, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Preliminary Plans
PDF icon Link to Plan Set for Sept 4 & 5 2019
PDF icon Link to Updated Plan Set for 10-2-2019 ZBA
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon REVISED Staff Report
PDF icon Staff Report - Second Revision
PDF icon Staff Report 3rd Revision
01/15/2020 - 9:08am
Tremont St 169 ZBA 2019-17 Apr 17, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 01/15/2020 - 9:14am
Washington 121 ZBA 2019-111 Nov 06, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Updated plans
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Washington St 121 - Staff Report UPDATED.pdf
01/15/2020 - 9:19am
Mossland St 15 ZBA 2018-124-R1 Feb 05, 2020 PDF icon Plan Set PDF icon Staff Report 01/31/2020 - 1:29am
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
Beacon St 175 DRA#2020-0016 Jan 22, 2020 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans 02/18/2020 - 11:44am
Somerville Ave 515 AA2020-0001 Feb 26, 2020 PDF icon Staff Report 02/20/2020 - 3:16pm
McGrath Hwy (PUD) 845 PB 2017-27 Jan 04, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Application package
PDF icon impervious clarification
PDF icon response to questions
PDF icon memo to T&I
PDF icon air quality report
PDF icon design guidelines
PDF icon Preliminary Staff Report - prior to testimony
PDF icon Revised staff report with conditions
PDF icon Staff Memo
PDF icon Staff Memo
02/21/2020 - 12:12pm
Somerville Avenue 453 ZBA 2019-114 Nov 20, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 11-4-19
PDF icon Accessibility Letter 11-14-19
PDF icon 2019.12.03 Ground Floor Plan (POST).pdf
PDF icon Shadow Studies COMBINED.pdf
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Somerville Ave 453 - Memo 2019-12-5.pdf
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Views
03/06/2020 - 11:37am
Oak St 10 ZBA 2018-10-R1-06-2019 Sep 04, 2019 PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Plans
03/06/2020 - 11:54am
Hawkins St 3 DRA 2020-0018 Mar 11, 2020 PDF icon Hawkins 3 - Variance Application.pdf 03/25/2020 - 9:05am
Oak St 10 ZBA 2018-19-R-1-6-2019 Mar 25, 2020 PDF icon Oak St 10 - Staff Report Revised.pdf 03/25/2020 - 3:55pm
Middlesex Ave 5 PB2018-07-MA2-0320 Apr 23, 2020 PDF icon XMBLY-PUDrev-032410_AppA.pdf
PDF icon XMBLY-PUDrev-032420_AppB (Compress).pdf
PDF icon XMBLY-PUDrev-032410_AppC.pdf
PDF icon XMBLY-PUDrev-032420_AppDFG.pdf
PDF icon XMBLY-PUDrev-032410_03.pdf
PDF icon XMBLY-PUDrev-032420_00-02.pdf
PDF icon XMBLY-PUDrev-032420_04-06.pdf
PDF icon XMBLY-PUDrev-032410_AppE-1.pdf
PDF icon XMBLY-PUDrev-032410_AppE-2.pdf
03/26/2020 - 1:36pm
Dane St 54 ZBA 2018-85-R1-03-20 Mar 19, 2020 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Materials PDF icon Staff Report 04/07/2020 - 9:26am
McGrath Highway 1 ZBA 2018-138-E1 Mar 25, 2020 PDF icon Decision PDF icon McGrath 1 - Staff Report.pdf 04/07/2020 - 9:26am

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