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 Numbersort descending Case Number First Hearing Date Decisions Other Reports Updated date
Cedar Street 11 ZBA 2018-84 Jun 19, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set 4-25-19
PDF icon Plan Set 6-12-19
PDF icon Staff Report 06/14/2019 - 10:22am
George Street 11 ZBA 2017-85 Oct 18, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 9-7-17
PDF icon Plot Plan 5-29-11
PDF icon Staff Report 08/07/2018 - 12:53pm
George St 11 ZBA 2015-77 Nov 04, 2015 PDF icon Plans 10.20.2015
PDF icon Plans 11.08.2015
PDF icon Plans 11.30.2015
PDF icon Staff Report 10.28.2015
PDF icon Staff Report 12.03.2015
12/04/2015 - 12:23pm
Sanborn Ave 11 ZBA 2018-83 Sep 17, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set - Initial Submission
PDF icon Plan Set - Updated August 2018
PDF icon Plan Set - Updated October 2018
PDF icon Staff Report 10/29/2018 - 3:12pm
Sargent Ave 11 ZBA 2011-55 Aug 03, 2011 PDF icon SargentAve11.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Updated Plans 10-27-11
PDF icon Staff Report 12/16/2011 - 11:38am
Bow St 11 ZBA2008-18 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
North St 11 ZBA 2013-50 Aug 07, 2013 PDF icon NorthSt11.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 08/19/2013 - 9:04am
Morton 11 ZBA 2015-88 Nov 04, 2015 PDF icon MortonSt11.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 11/16/2015 - 2:55pm
Landers St 11 ZBA 2014-117 Jan 07, 2015 PDF icon LandersSt11.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 02/19/2015 - 9:56am
Robinson St 11 ZBA 2018-07 Jul 18, 2018 PDF icon Decision
PDF icon Memo
PDF icon Plans for July 18 2018 PDF icon Staff Report 07/27/2018 - 11:33am
Fiske Ave 11 ZBA 2018-109 Oct 03, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Updated plans for Feb 20 2019
PDF icon Staff Memorandum 03/05/2019 - 7:29pm
Holland St 11-15 ZBA 2012-12 Feb 29, 2012 PDF icon HollandSt11-15 _Amended_.pdf PDF icon Plans 2-23-12
PDF icon Plans 5-8-12
PDF icon Staff Report 2-23-12
PDF icon Staff Report 5-10-12
06/07/2012 - 9:07am
Josephine Ave 110 ZBA 2016-149 Feb 15, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/20/2018 - 12:19pm
Josephine Ave 110 ZBA 2011-68 Sep 21, 2011 PDF icon JosephineAve110.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 12/16/2011 - 11:42am
Josephine Avenue 110 ZBA 2016-149 Dec 15, 2016 PDF icon Decision 08/06/2018 - 11:25am

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