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.

Streetsort ascending Number Case Number First Hearing Date Decisions Other Reports Updated date
Broadway 44 ZBA 2017-95 Nov 08, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 9-20-17
PDF icon Landscape Plan 9-22-17
PDF icon Summary of Environmental Conditions
PDF icon Elevations 1-4-18
PDF icon Plan Set 2-19-18
PDF icon Variance Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Variance Staff Report
08/03/2018 - 11:32am
Broadway 1147 ZBA2008-17 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Broadway 1180 ZBA 2005-32-R1-10/2011 Nov 16, 2011 PDF icon Broadway1180 (R-10-2011).pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Parking Impact Assessment Memorandum
PDF icon Staff Report 12/02/2011 - 12:20pm
Broadway 1252 ZBA 2018-38 Jul 12, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Plan Set - Updated July 2018
PDF icon Plan Set - Updated October 2018
PDF icon Plan Set - Updated for Nov 28 2018
PDF icon Plans for 2-20-2019 ZBA
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report for 2-20-2019
03/12/2019 - 1:44pm
Broadway 906-908 ZBA 2015-32 Jul 09, 2015 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans 06.2015
PDF icon Plans 07.2015
PDF icon Plans 10.06.2015
PDF icon Plans 10.26.2015
PDF icon Plans 11.12.2015
PDF icon Staff Report 07.09.2015
PDF icon Staff Report 09.10.2015
PDF icon Staff Report 10.15.2015
PDF icon Staff Report 10.29.2015
PDF icon Staff Report 11.12.2015
08/06/2019 - 10:56am
Broadway 282 PB 2016-22 Feb 02, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon mystic storefront proof 1-10-17.pdf PDF icon Staff Report 09/18/2018 - 10:24am
Broadway 595 ZBA 2018-94 Sep 17, 2018 PDF icon 595 Broadway.pdf PDF icon Plan Set 6-25-18
PDF icon Plan Set 8-31-18
PDF icon Plan Set 9-25-18
PDF icon Staff Report 10/10/2018 - 1:18pm
Broadway 114 PB 2017-29 Mar 08, 2018 PDF icon drawing set
PDF icon revised design drawing set
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Staff Report - updated & corrected
PDF icon Memo to Planning Board
08/07/2018 - 8:47am
Broadway 284-288 PB 2017-11 May 18, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Proposed Facade Renovations PDF icon Staff Report 08/06/2018 - 11:42am
Broadway 1154 ZBA 2014-72 Aug 20, 2014 PDF icon Broadway1154.pdf PDF icon DRC Presentation
PDF icon DRC Presentation 2014.05.29
PDF icon Plans 2014.06
PDF icon Plans 2014.08
PDF icon Plans 2014.08.20
PDF icon Renderings 2014.08.20
PDF icon Staff Report 10/03/2014 - 11:33am
Broadway 192 PB 2017-28 Dec 14, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Signage 11-22-17
PDF icon Photo of sign
PDF icon Signage 2-6-18
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
08/07/2018 - 8:53am
Broadway 242 ZBA 2019-119 Nov 20, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 11-07-19 PDF icon Staff Report 01/08/2020 - 4:06pm
Broadway 864 ZBA2009-63 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Broadway 1366, 1370, 1372, and 1374 ZBA 2016-127 Oct 07, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/18/2018 - 10:26am
Broadway 176-182 ZBA 2018-79 Jun 20, 2018 PDF icon Decision (WWOP)
PDF icon Memo
08/02/2018 - 6:29pm


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