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
Highland Ave 363 ZBA 2011-36 Jun 08, 2011 PDF icon HighlandAve363.pdf PDF icon Plans 10/14/2011 - 1:01pm
Summer St 68-70 ZBA 2011-41 Jun 08, 2011 PDF icon SummerSt68-70.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/27/2011 - 11:36am
Summer St 168 ZBA 2011-44 Jun 08, 2011 PDF icon SummerSt168.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/21/2011 - 10:19am
Third Ave 21 ZBA 2011-39 Jun 08, 2011 PDF icon ThirdAve21.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Traffic Memorandum
PDF icon Level 1 Environmental Site Assessment
PDF icon Staff Report 06/21/2011 - 10:17am
Albion St 29R, Unit 1 ZBA 2011-40 Jun 08, 2011 PDF icon AlbionSt29R.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/21/2011 - 10:19am
Summer St 184 ZBA 2011-43 Jun 08, 2011 PDF icon SummerSt184.pdf PDF icon Attachments PDF icon Staff Report 06/21/2011 - 10:20am
Bromfield Rd 61 ZBA 2011-42 Jun 08, 2011 PDF icon BromfieldRd61.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/21/2011 - 10:20am
Sanborn Ct / Washington St 9 / 255 PB 2011-09 May 19, 2011 PDF icon SanbornCt9-WashingtonS255.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/06/2011 - 1:12pm
Somerville Ave 380 PB 2010-23 May 19, 2011 PDF icon SomervilleAve380.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Traffic Impact Report
PDF icon Shadow Study
PDF icon Tenant Relocation Plan
PDF icon Staff Report 5/12/11
PDF icon Staff Report 6/30/11
PDF icon Staff Report 7/13/11
08/03/2011 - 4:17pm
Bleachery Ct / Garden Ct 14-15 / 10 ZBA 2011-37 May 18, 2011 PDF icon BleacheryCt14-15.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/06/2011 - 1:10pm
Porter St 23 ZBA 2011-05 May 18, 2011 PDF icon PorterSt23 _AA_ Denied.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/21/2011 - 10:16am
Howe St 1 ZBA 2011-34 May 18, 2011 PDF icon HoweSt1.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/06/2011 - 1:09pm
Porter St 23 ZBA 2011-09 May 18, 2011 PDF icon PorterSt23 _SP_ WWOP.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/21/2011 - 10:17am
Belmont St 50 ZBA 2011-26 May 18, 2011 PDF icon BelmontSt50.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/06/2011 - 1:11pm
Porter St 27 ZBA 2011-33 May 18, 2011 PDF icon PorterSt27.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/06/2011 - 1:09pm

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