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
Summer St 111 ZBA 2018-171 Jan 23, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Updated Plan Set
PDF icon Plan Set - Updated for May 1, 2019 ZBA
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Staff Report- Updated for May 1, 2019
05/22/2019 - 10:49am
Beacon Street 111 ZBA 2018-158 Jan 23, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set - Initial Submission
PDF icon Updated plans for February 20 2019
PDF icon Staff Report 05/22/2019 - 10:47am
Beacon Street 115 ZBA 2018-159 Jan 23, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set - Initial Submission
PDF icon Updated plans for Feb 20 2019
PDF icon Staff Report 05/22/2019 - 10:47am
Craigie Street 52-24 ZBA 2018-177 Jan 23, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 12-6-18
PDF icon Plan Set 1-3-18
PDF icon Staff Report 02/12/2019 - 9:08am
Somerville Ave 300 PB 2018-21 Jan 23, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans December 2018
PDF icon Updated plans for Feb 7 2019 DRC
PDF icon Updated plans for Feb 28 2019 DRC
PDF icon Plans for Mar 21, 2019 PB
PDF icon Updated Plans for June 20, 2019 PB
PDF icon Staff Report 07/02/2019 - 11:06am
Hanson Street 24 ZBA 2018-161 Jan 09, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set 11-08-18 PDF icon Staff Report 01/04/2019 - 10:42am
Rush St 20-24 ZBA 2016-140-E1-11-2018 Jan 09, 2019 PDF icon Decision
PDF icon Correction Memo - Decision
PDF icon Staff Report 02/06/2019 - 10:20am
Highland Ave 378-382 ZBA 2018-121 Jan 09, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans 02/27/2019 - 9:21am
Elm Street 36 ZBA 2018-127 Jan 09, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 9-4-18
PDF icon Plan Set 11-25-18
PDF icon Plan Set 1-28-19
PDF icon Plan Set 2-14-19
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
03/06/2019 - 11:16am
Columbus Avenue 40 ZBA 2018-147 Jan 09, 2019 PDF icon Plans 10-17-18 01/02/2019 - 1:51pm
Ward 10-12 ZBA 2017-122-E1-121/8 Jan 09, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Previous Decision
PDF icon Staff Memo 01/30/2019 - 2:34pm
Morrison Avenue 2 ZBA 2018-146 Jan 09, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 10-19-18
PDF icon Plan Set 11-08-18
PDF icon Plan Set 12-20-18
PDF icon Staff Report 01/30/2019 - 2:34pm
Packard Ave 123 ZBA 2018-165 Jan 09, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Staff Report 02/12/2019 - 9:05am
Electric Avenue 47 ZBA 2018-160 Jan 09, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 10-31-18
PDF icon Plan Set 12-13-18
PDF icon Plan Set 1-24-19
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Staff Report
03/06/2019 - 11:12am
Broadway 70 PB 2017-13-R1-11/18 Dec 13, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 10-30-18
PDF icon Accessibility Letter 10-30-18
PDF icon Staff Report 12/26/2018 - 11:14am

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