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
Assembly Row Block 11 Daycare (251 Grand Union Blvd) 11 PB 2016-02 Feb 18, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon F-I Civil Plans Final small.pdf PDF icon Staff Report 09/17/2018 - 1:21pm
Assembly Row Block 11 (399 Revolution Dr/Grand Union Blvd) 11 PB 2014-17 Jul 10, 2014 PDF icon AssemblyRowBlock11wAppendix.pdf PDF icon Civil Plans
PDF icon Arch Plans & Perspectives
PDF icon Open Space Plan
PDF icon Utility Analysis
PDF icon LEED Worksheet
PDF icon Presentation to DRC (Renderings, Shadow Studies, Connectivity)
PDF icon Transportation Analysis
PDF icon Transportation Appendix
PDF icon Staff Report 11/20/2014 - 11:50am
Assembly Row Block 10 (133 Middlesex Ave) 10 PB 2011-10-R1 (7/2011) Sep 01, 2011 PDF icon MiddlesexAve133Block10 PB 2011-10-R7-2011)(Combined Final Decision).pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/25/2014 - 4:36pm
Assembly Row Block 10 (133 Middlesex Ave) 10 PB 2011-10 Jun 09, 2011 PDF icon MiddlesexAve133-SPSR-A Block10 complete decision.pdf PDF icon Open Space Plan
PDF icon Elevations, Floor Plan & Perspectives
PDF icon LEED Checklist
PDF icon G.III_. Architectural Plans and Elevations.pdf
PDF icon Civil Plans
PDF icon DRC 5-26-11
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Staff Report 6-23-11
06/25/2014 - 4:35pm
Assembly Row Block 1 1 PB 2011-14 Oct 05, 2011 PDF icon ASQ Block 1 Combined Decision.pdf PDF icon Architectural Renderings, Plans, Elevations
PDF icon Civil Plans
PDF icon Neighborhood Context
PDF icon DRC 7-28-11
PDF icon DRC 9-8-11
PDF icon Staff Report 06/25/2014 - 2:14pm
Assembly Row 400-499 PB2014-34-R4 (9/2017) Dec 14, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon staff report 08/07/2018 - 8:58am
Assembly Row 400-499 PB 2014-34-R3-0917 Oct 19, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Drawing set PDF icon Staff report 08/07/2018 - 12:52pm
Assembly Row 699 PB 2014-35 Jan 08, 2015 PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 02/19/2015 - 9:56am
Assembly Row Line Park Building B PB2016-14-R1-11/17 Jan 30, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Elevations & proposed screening PDF icon Staff Report 08/07/2018 - 8:56am
Assembly Row 500 (Block 8) PB2006-59-R4-02/2017 Apr 06, 2017 PDF icon Detailed guidelines page PDF icon PUDAmend_CondGuidelineBlock8_StaffReport-040617revised.pdf 08/06/2018 - 11:36am
Assembly Row 500 (Block 8) PB2017-06 Apr 06, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Index & Executive Summary
PDF icon Zoning, Transportation, & Shadow Study
PDF icon Architectural Drawings
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Staff Update Memo
PDF icon FRIT Memo
08/03/2018 - 11:24am
Assembly Line Park 0 PB 2006-59-MA18 Sep 22, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon SPSR Requested Waivers PDF icon Staff Report 09/17/2018 - 12:19pm
ASQ IKEA Phase IAA (Middlesex Ave) 133 PB 2009-05-E1 (6/2011) Jul 14, 2011 PDF icon MiddlesexAve133w-letter.pdf PDF icon Staff Report 09/23/2011 - 2:12pm
ASQ Block 5B PB 2017-05 Apr 06, 2017 PDF icon ASQ Block 5B (Combined).pdf 08/06/2018 - 11:38am
ASMD Phase 1AAA -Marketplace PB2009-13 05/20/2010 - 7:10am

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