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 Numbersort ascending First Hearing Date Decisions Other Reports Updated date
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
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
NorthPoint Open Space EF/G PB 2017-24 Dec 14, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon drawing set
PDF icon application package
PDF icon revised application package - 12.05.17
PDF icon Staff Report 08/07/2018 - 8:58am
NorthPoint Parcel EF PB 2017-23 Dec 14, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon plan set
PDF icon civil set
PDF icon application package
PDF icon revised application package - 12.05.17
PDF icon Staff Report 08/07/2018 - 1:17pm
Broadway 176-182 PB 2017-22 Jun 21, 2018 PDF icon Plans for June 21 2018 Plng Board
PDF icon Updated Plan Set for 6-21-2018
PDF icon Updated Plan Set for Dec 12 2018
PDF icon Broadway 176-182 - Plans for December 13, 2019 ZBA.pdf
PDF icon Broadway%20176-182%20-%20Plans%20121319%20%28POST%29.pdf
PDF icon Staff Report 12/10/2019 - 3:34pm
Union Square CDSP PB 2017-21 Nov 20, 2017 PDF icon CDSP decision PDF icon Revised: USQ CDSP Application
PDF icon Revised: Appendix 1 – Applicant Info
PDF icon Revised: Appendix 3 – Civic Space
PDF icon Appendix 4 – T.I.S. & Mobility
PDF icon Revised: Lot & Block Plans
PDF icon Revised: Thoroughfare Plans
PDF icon Revised: Utility Exhibits
PDF icon Revised: Appendix 2 - Neighborhood Mtg
PDF icon Preliminary Staff Report - prior to testimony
PDF icon mobility management memo
PDF icon Memo in response to 11/20/17 questions
08/07/2018 - 8:58am
Somerville Avenue 304 PB 2017-20 Dec 14, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Traffic Study
PDF icon Plan Set 7-31-17
PDF icon Plan Set 9-8-17
PDF icon Renderings 12-21-17
PDF icon Staff Report 08/07/2018 - 8:56am
Broadway 44 PB 2017-19 Nov 30, 2017 PDF icon Plan Set 9-20-17
PDF icon Landscape Plan 9-22-17
PDF icon Summary of Environmental Conditions.pdf
08/07/2018 - 1:23pm
Mystic Ave 654 PB 2017-18 Aug 17, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon FINAL 654 Mystic Schematic Plans Revised 5. 18 17.pdf PDF icon Mystic Ave 654 -Staff Report - August 17 2017-3.pdf 08/06/2018 - 12:13pm
Somerville Ave 374 PB 2017-16 and ZBA 2018-11 Oct 19, 2017 PDF icon ZBA Decision
PDF icon PB Decision
PDF icon PB Decision MEMO
PDF icon PB MEMO
PDF icon Code Report
PDF icon Plan Set 6-23-17
PDF icon Perspective Views
PDF icon Aerial Rendering
PDF icon Carlton Street Elevation
PDF icon Plan Set 3-8-18
PDF icon Plan Set 3-27-18
PDF icon Plan Set 5-24-18
PDF icon Zoning Data
PDF icon Variance Staff Report
PDF icon SPSR Staff Report
PDF icon Updated SPSR Staff Report
08/07/2018 - 1:45pm
Broadway 70 PB 2017-13-R1-11/18 Dec 13, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 10-30-18
PDF icon Accessibility Letter 10-30-18
PDF icon Staff Report 12/26/2018 - 11:14am
Broadway 70 PB 2017-13 Jun 22, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 5-4-17
PDF icon Plan Set 6-12-17
PDF icon Plan Set 7-17-17
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report 7-26-17
08/06/2018 - 12:13pm
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
Somerville Avenue 335 PB 2017-10 Jun 08, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Facade Renovations PDF icon Staff Report 08/06/2018 - 11:58am
Somerville Avenue 321 PB 2017-08 May 04, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Riverdog_Facade_3-30-17 PDF icon Staff Report 08/06/2018 - 12:00pm

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