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 descending Decisions Other Reports Updated date
Broadway 79-83 PB2010-05 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Beacon St 298 ZBA2008-40 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Hudson St 163 ZBA2008-53 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Lexington Ave 67 ZBA2010-08 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Highland Ave (Armory) 191 ZBA2005-70-R0209 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Somerville Ave 691A ZBA2009-09 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Washington St 30 ZBA2009-59 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
McGrath Hwy 844 PB2001-80-R0408 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Pearl St 196 ZBA2009-33 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Somerville Avenue 314-316 PB 2014- PDF icon SomervilleAve314-316.pdf PDF icon Staff Report 11/24/2014 - 3:38pm
Elm St 260 ZBA2010-04 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
College Ave 119 ZBA2000-02-R0808 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Dane St 57 ZBA2009-29 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Bow St 79 ZBA2009-06 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Benton Rd 2 ZBA2008-20 05/20/2010 - 7:10am

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