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 ascending
Summer St 63-67 ZBA 2011-01 Aug 03, 2011 PDF icon SummerSt63-67.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Traffic & Parking Memo
PDF icon Staff Report 08/18/2011 - 6:28pm
Franklin St 52 ZBA 2010-74 Aug 17, 2011 PDF icon FranklinSt52.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 08/18/2011 - 6:27pm
Oxford St 27 ZBA 2011-56 Aug 03, 2011 PDF icon OxfordSt27.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 08/16/2011 - 12:36pm
Main St 20 ZBA 2011-48 Jul 13, 2011 PDF icon MainSt20.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Plans 7-26-11
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Staff Report - 7-28-11
08/16/2011 - 12:36pm
Holland St 237 ZBA 2011-58 Aug 03, 2011 PDF icon HollandSt237.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 08/16/2011 - 12:35pm
Somerville Ave 380 PB 2010-23 May 19, 2011 PDF icon SomervilleAve380.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Traffic Impact Report
PDF icon Shadow Study
PDF icon Tenant Relocation Plan
PDF icon Staff Report 5/12/11
PDF icon Staff Report 6/30/11
PDF icon Staff Report 7/13/11
08/03/2011 - 4:17pm
Beacon St 292 ZBA 2007-11-E1 (6/2011) Jul 13, 2011 PDF icon BeaconSt292.pdf PDF icon Staff Report 08/03/2011 - 4:16pm
Lexington Ave 85-87 ZBA 2011-53 Jul 13, 2011 PDF icon LexingtonAve85-87.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 08/03/2011 - 4:16pm
Medford St 399 ZBA 2011-52 Jul 13, 2011 PDF icon MedfordSt399.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 08/03/2011 - 4:15pm
Powder House Blvd 192 ZBA 2011-49 Jun 22, 2011 PDF icon PowderHouseBlvd192.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Photos
PDF icon Staff Report 08/03/2011 - 4:14pm
Pearl St 186 ZBA 2011-45 Jul 13, 2011 PDF icon PearlSt186.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 08/03/2011 - 4:14pm
Sycamore St 67 ZBA 2011-51 Jul 13, 2011 PDF icon SycamoreSt67.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 07/19/2011 - 8:34am
Washington St 253 PB 2011-11 Jun 09, 2011 PDF icon WashingtonSt253.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon DRC 5-26-11
PDF icon Staff Report 06/30/2011 - 4:31pm
Holland St 167-169 ZBA 2011-46 Jun 22, 2011 PDF icon HollandSt167-169.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/27/2011 - 11:37am
Summer St 68-70 ZBA 2011-41 Jun 08, 2011 PDF icon SummerSt68-70.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/27/2011 - 11:36am

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