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 46 PB 2017-07 May 04, 2017 PDF icon Broadway46.pdf 08/06/2018 - 12:04pm
Assembly Square - Grand Union Boulevard 500 (Block 5B) PB 2017-05 Apr 20, 2017 PDF icon ASQBlock5B-REVISED_Decision-CleanCopy (Combined).pdf PDF icon Index & Executive Summary
PDF icon Application & Waiver Request
PDF icon Open Space & Architectural
PDF icon Shadow Study & LEED Checklist
PDF icon Staff Report 08/06/2018 - 11:50am
ASQ Block 5B PB 2017-05 Apr 06, 2017 PDF icon ASQ Block 5B (Combined).pdf 08/06/2018 - 11:38am
Broadway 67 PB 2017-01 Mar 02, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Exterior Rendering 01-25-17
PDF icon Plan Set 12-27-16
PDF icon Staff Report 08/06/2018 - 11:26am
Broadway 67 PB 2017-01 Mar 02, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/17/2018 - 5:44pm
Mystic Ave 654 PB 2017--14 Jul 13, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Mystic Ave 654 - 2017 Revised plans - lot split.pdf PDF icon Mystic Ave 654 -Staff Report - Lot split.pdf 08/06/2018 - 11:57am
Broadway 1060 PB 2016-79 Aug 18, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/18/2018 - 11:09am
College Avenue 118-124 PB 2016-51 Apr 20, 2017 PDF icon Decision (WWOP) 08/06/2018 - 12:03pm
Broadway 282 PB 2016-22 Feb 02, 2017 PDF icon Decision 08/06/2018 - 11:24am
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
NorthPoint Parcel JK - Design & Site Plan PB 2016-21 Nov 08, 2016 PDF icon Northpoint Parcel JK (#PB 2016-21) (1).pdf 09/20/2018 - 6:16pm
NorthPoint Dawes Street PB 2016-20 Nov 08, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans 09/20/2018 - 6:00pm
NorthPoint Parcel JK loading dock SP PB 2016-18 Nov 17, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans 09/20/2018 - 6:18pm
Broadway 118-120 PB 2016-16 Aug 20, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/18/2018 - 10:32am
Benedict St 22 PB 2016-15 Sep 08, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/17/2018 - 4:32pm

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