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 currently the chair of the Zoning Board of Appeals as Chair. She 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.

  • Richard Rossetti, Clerk

Richard Rossetti has served on the Zoning Board of Appeals for over 14 years and is the Distribution Manager for the Spaulding Brick Company. He has also held a position with the Somerville Dreams For Youth Foundation and served 8 years on the Somerville High School Scholarship Foundation. He is a two-time member of the award-winning Somerville All-American City delegation.

  • Danielle Evans

Danielle 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.

  • Anne Brockelman, Alternate

Anne Brockelman, AIA, LEED AP BD+C is an architect with 17 years of experience and the Associate Principal at Perry Dean Rogers Partners Architects and Director of Sustainable Design. She graduated from Wesleyan University with a B.A. in Art History and Studio Art and a Master of Architecture from Harvard University's Graduate School of Design. She also has served as adjunct faculty at the Boston Architectural College since 2001 and received the Certificate in Design Education in 2006.

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
Laurel Street 46 ZBA 2018-98 Aug 22, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 6-29-18
PDF icon Accessibility Narrative 7-2-18
PDF icon Staff Report 08/30/2018 - 11:50am
Highland Avenue 144 ZBA 2018-97 Aug 22, 2018 PDF icon Plan Set 6-29-18 08/03/2018 - 12:05pm
Broadway 1154 ZBA 2018-78 Aug 22, 2018 PDF icon Plan Set 5-15-18 07/20/2018 - 11:44am
Dane Street 54 ZBA 2018-85 Aug 22, 2018 PDF icon Plan Set 6-12-18
PDF icon Plans 9-5-18
PDF icon Plans 9-12-18
PDF icon Staff Report 09/13/2018 - 10:17am
Ware Street 8-10 ZBA 2018-80 Aug 22, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 6-13-18 PDF icon Staff Report 08/30/2018 - 11:49am
Lowell Street 125 ZBA 2018-89 Aug 22, 2018 PDF icon initial drawing set
PDF icon revised drawing set
PDF icon transportation fact sheet
PDF icon stormwater report
PDF icon staff report 09/07/2018 - 10:43am
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
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 Plans 08/29/2018 - 7:29pm
Quincy Street 12 ZBA 2018-90 Aug 08, 2018 PDF icon Deck Plan 2-2-18
PDF icon Plot Plan 5-14-18
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
08/30/2018 - 4:03pm
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 Plans for August 8, 2018 ZBA
PDF icon Thorndike St 41 - Plans for Aug 22, 2018 ZBA
08/15/2018 - 6:16pm

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