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)
  • Members

  • Reports & Decisions

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 Datesort ascending Decisions Other Reports Updated date
Avon St 12 ZBA 2018-96 Aug 22, 2018 PDF icon Decision (WWOP) PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Plans - Updated for Aug 22, 2018
PDF icon Staff Report 09/04/2018 - 3:19pm
Highland Ave 124 ZBA 2018-93 Aug 22, 2018 PDF icon Plans July 2018 07/31/2018 - 4:43pm
Medford Street 448 ZBA 2018-91 Aug 08, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 01-25-18 PDF icon Staff Report 08/13/2018 - 9:45am
Pearl St 14 ZBA 2018-23 Aug 08, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans for August 18 2018 PDF icon Staff Report 09/12/2018 - 9:26am
Kent St 45 ZBA 2017-90 Aug 08, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Updated Plans
PDF icon Staff Report 05/07/2019 - 12:22pm
Quincy Street 12 ZBA 2018-90 Aug 08, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Deck Plan 2-2-18
PDF icon Plot Plan 5-14-18
PDF icon Deck Plan 11-16-18
PDF icon Plot Plan 11-28-18
PDF icon Staff Report 8-8-18
PDF icon Updated Staff Report 9-5-18
PDF icon 2nd Updated Staff Report 12-12-18
12/19/2018 - 12:09pm
Rush Street 23 ZBA 2018-92 Aug 08, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 1-25-12 PDF icon Staff Report 08/13/2018 - 9:51am
Holland Street 17-27 ZBA 2018-87 Aug 08, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans 6-14-18 PDF icon Staff Report 08/13/2018 - 9:54am
Elm Street 245 ZBA 2018-73 Aug 08, 2018 PDF icon Plan Set 3-16-18 08/07/2018 - 12:11pm
Thorndike St 41 ZBA 2018-81 Aug 08, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans for August 8, 2018 ZBA
PDF icon Thorndike St 41 - Plans for Aug 22, 2018 ZBA
PDF icon Staff Report 11/14/2018 - 12:54pm
Hudson St 150 ZBA 2018-71 Aug 08, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 5-4-18
PDF icon Plan Set updated 8-28-18
12/19/2018 - 12:05pm
Powderhouse Blvd 80 ZBA 2018-82 Aug 08, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Corrected site plan for August 8 2018
PDF icon Staff Report 08/22/2018 - 5:32pm
Gilman St 27 ZBA 2018-112 Aug 03, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 12/12/2018 - 10:21am
Mystic Ave 350 ZBA 2016-64-E1-7-18 Aug 01, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans for August 8 2018 PDF icon Staff Report 08/22/2018 - 5:31pm
Wallace Street 100 ZBA 2018-77 Jul 18, 2018 PDF icon WallaceSt100.pdf PDF icon Plan Set 5-29-18
PDF icon Neighborhood Photos
PDF icon Staff Report 07/23/2018 - 2:18pm

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