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
Rush St 20-24 ZBA 2016-140-R1-5-2019 Jul 17, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set PDF icon Staff Memorandum 07/18/2019 - 7:26pm
Rossmore Street 11 ZBA 2019-41 Jul 17, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 4-17-19
PDF icon Plan Set 6-27-19
PDF icon Landscape Plan 8-7-19
PDF icon Plan Set 8-7-19
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
08/22/2019 - 4:47pm
Bow 23A ZBA 2019-47 Jul 17, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 07/18/2019 - 5:15pm
Oak Street 7 ZBA 2019-01 Jul 17, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 1-2-19
PDF icon Accessibility Letter 1-2-19
PDF icon Sustainability
PDF icon Plan Set 3-13-19
PDF icon Plan Set 5-24-19
PDF icon Plan Set 7-29-18
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
08/12/2019 - 4:16pm
Prospect Street 20 (D2.2) PB 2019-06 Jun 20, 2019 PDF icon Decision (SP)
PDF icon Decision (DSPR)
PDF icon Zoning Compliance 4-30-19
PDF icon Environmental Analysis 4-30-19
PDF icon Mobility Management Plan 4-30-19
PDF icon Plan Set 4-30-19
PDF icon Transportation Access Plan 4-30-19
PDF icon Project Narrative 4-30-19
PDF icon Anticipated Schedule
PDF icon Abramson Memo 5-15-19
PDF icon Planning Director Memo 6-6-19
PDF icon US2 Presentation 6.13.19
PDF icon D2.2 and D2.3 Resiliency Supplement 6-26-19
PDF icon Mobility Management Plan (revised) 7-3-19
PDF icon Updated Plan Sheets 8-9-19
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report rev2
09/10/2019 - 8:25am
Prospect Street 50 (D2.3) PB 2019-07 Jun 20, 2019 PDF icon Decision (SP)
PDF icon Decision (DSPR)
PDF icon Zoning Compliance 4-30-19
PDF icon Environmental Analysis 4-30-19
PDF icon Mobility Management Plan 4-30-19
PDF icon Plan Set 4-30-19
PDF icon Transportation Access Plan 4-30-19
PDF icon Project Narrative 4-30-19
PDF icon Anticipated Schedule
PDF icon Abramson Memo 5-15-19
PDF icon Planning Director Memo 6-6-19
PDF icon US2 Presentation 6.13.19
PDF icon D2.2 and D2.3 Resiliency Supplement 6-26-19
PDF icon Mobility Management Plan (revised) 7-3-19
PDF icon Updated Plan Sheets 8-9-19
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report rev2
09/10/2019 - 8:25am
Prospect Street 10-50 (Civic Plaza) PB 2019-05 Jun 20, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Zoning Compliance 4-30-19
PDF icon Environmental Analysis 4-30-19
PDF icon Plan Set 4-30-19
PDF icon Project Narrative 4-30-19
PDF icon Abramson Memo 5-15-19
PDF icon Planning Director Memo 6-6-19
PDF icon US2 Presentation 6.13.19
PDF icon Updated Plan Sheets 7-1-19
PDF icon US2 Presentation 7-11-19
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Revised Staff Report 8-14-19
PDF icon Updated Staff Report 8-22-19
09/10/2019 - 8:26am
Cedar Street 11 ZBA 2018-84 Jun 19, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 4-25-19
PDF icon Plan Set 6-12-19
PDF icon Plan Set 9-4-19
PDF icon Updated Shadows 9-12-19
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
09/25/2019 - 2:20pm
Tufts Street 27 ZBA 2018-195 Jun 19, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set 12-8-18
PDF icon Plot Plan 3-10-09
PDF icon Plan Set 5-29-19
PDF icon Plan Set 6-10-19
PDF icon Plan Set 8-9-19
PDF icon Revision Narrative 8-9-19
PDF icon Sun Study 8-9-19
PDF icon Plan Set 9-17-19
PDF icon Revision Narrative 9-17-19
PDF icon Plan Set 9-25-19
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report 9-4-19
PDF icon 2nd Updated Staff Report 10-2-19
09/26/2019 - 10:35am
Pearl Street 126 ZBA 2019-46 Jun 19, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 6-5-19 PDF icon Staff Report 07/24/2019 - 9:16am
Wallace Street 76 ZBA 2019-51 Jun 19, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 5-23-19
PDF icon Plan Set 6-13-19
PDF icon Staff Report 07/02/2019 - 11:16am
Cedar St 171 ZBA 2018-191 Jun 19, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set - April 2019
PDF icon Plan Set - Updated August 2019
10/28/2019 - 6:16pm
Vernon St 60 ZBA 2019-38 Jun 19, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set - Initial Submission
PDF icon Updated Plan Set for June 19, 2019 ZBA
PDF icon Staff Report 07/08/2019 - 9:08am
McGrath Highway 434 ZBA 2018-19-R1-4/19 Jun 06, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 5-22-19 PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
07/02/2019 - 11:08am
Bailey Rd 65 ZBA 2019-27 Jun 05, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated for August 2019
08/26/2019 - 7:32pm

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