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 Date Decisions Other Reports Updated datesort ascending
Perkins Street 91 ZBA 2017-115 Jan 17, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 1-11-18 PDF icon Staff Report 02/05/2018 - 1:51pm
Somerville Avenue 304 PB 2017-20 Dec 14, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Traffic Study
PDF icon Plan Set 7-31-17
PDF icon Plan Set 9-8-17
PDF icon Renderings 12-21-17
PDF icon Staff Report 02/05/2018 - 1:25pm
Assembly Row Line Park Building B PB2016-14-R1-11/17 Jan 30, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Elevations & proposed screening PDF icon Staff Report 01/31/2018 - 2:28pm
Highland Avenue 370 ZBA 2017-127 Jan 17, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 11-21-17 PDF icon Staff Report 01/31/2018 - 9:52am
Bartlett Street 90 ZBA 2017-131 Jan 17, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 6-28-17 PDF icon Staff Report 01/31/2018 - 9:51am
Beacon Street 312 R ZBA 2018-08 Feb 14, 2018 PDF icon Plan Set 1-30-18 01/30/2018 - 10:02am
Norwood Avenue 14 ZBA 2017-116 Dec 13, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 11-22-17
PDF icon Plan Set 12-7-17
PDF icon Staff Report 01/30/2018 - 9:59am
Sargent Avenue 55 ZBA 2017-117 Jan 03, 2018 PDF icon SargentAve55.pdf PDF icon Plan Set 10-3-17 PDF icon Staff Report 01/30/2018 - 9:58am
College Avenue 197 ZBA 2017-112 Jan 03, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 10-5-17 PDF icon Staff Report 01/30/2018 - 9:58am
Union Square CDSP PB 2017-21 Nov 20, 2017 PDF icon CDSP decision PDF icon Revised: USQ CDSP Application
PDF icon Revised: Appendix 1 – Applicant Info
PDF icon Revised: Appendix 3 – Civic Space
PDF icon Appendix 4 – T.I.S. & Mobility
PDF icon Revised: Lot & Block Plans
PDF icon Revised: Thoroughfare Plans
PDF icon Revised: Utility Exhibits
PDF icon Revised: Appendix 2 - Neighborhood Mtg
PDF icon Preliminary Staff Report - prior to testimony
PDF icon mobility management memo
PDF icon Memo in response to 11/20/17 questions
01/11/2018 - 3:20pm
Assembly Row 400-499 PB2014-34-R4 (9/2017) Dec 14, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon staff report 12/27/2017 - 11:29am
NorthPoint Open Space EF/G PB 2017-24 Dec 14, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon drawing set
PDF icon application package
PDF icon revised application package - 12.05.17
PDF icon Staff Report 12/27/2017 - 11:28am
Concord Ave 69 ZBA 2017-108 Dec 13, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Concord Ave 69 - Updated plans rec'd 12-7-2017.pdf PDF icon Staff Report 12/27/2017 - 11:27am
Boston Ave 23-25 ZBA 2017-100 Dec 13, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Boston Ave 23-25 - Plan Set.pdf PDF icon Staff Report 12/27/2017 - 11:27am
Franklin St 57-59 ZBA 2017-109 Dec 13, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans for December 13, 2017 PDF icon Staff Report 12/27/2017 - 11:26am

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