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
Fennell St 8 ZBA 2013-44 Jul 10, 2013 PDF icon FennellSt8.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 07/18/2013 - 1:29pm
Curtis St 8 ZBA 2013-72 Jul 17, 2014 PDF icon CurtisSt8.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Shadow Study
PDF icon Traffic and Parking Assessment
PDF icon Drainage Report
PDF icon Plans 8.14.2014
PDF icon Staff Report 2014.07.11
PDF icon Staff Report 2014.08.14
08/28/2014 - 9:28am
Mt. Vernon St 8 ZBA 2012-30 May 16, 2012 PDF icon MtVernonSt8.pdf PDF icon Plot & Site Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/11/2012 - 1:03pm
Tyler St 8 ZBA 2011-80 Nov 16, 2011 PDF icon TylerSt8.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 12/02/2011 - 12:19pm
Spring Hill Terrace 8 ZBA 2017-58 Jul 12, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 6-7-17 PDF icon Staff Report 08/06/2018 - 11:50am
Mt. Vernon St 8 ZBA 2013-51 Aug 07, 2013 PDF icon MountVernonSt8.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 08/19/2013 - 9:05am
Whipple Street 8 ZBA 2017-96 Oct 18, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 10-30-17 PDF icon Staff Report 08/07/2018 - 12:54pm
Ware Street 8-10 ZBA 2018-80 Aug 22, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 6-13-18 PDF icon Staff Report 08/30/2018 - 11:49am
Appleton Street 8-10 ZBA 2017-120 Dec 13, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 10-11-17 PDF icon Staff Report 08/07/2018 - 8:51am
Main St 8-12 ZBA 2014-97 Oct 15, 2014 PDF icon MainSt8-12(Denied).pdf PDF icon Plan PDF icon Staff Report 02/23/2015 - 10:18am
Powder House Blvd 80 ZBA 2018-82-R1-2-19 Mar 20, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Updated Plan Set for May 15 2019 ZBA
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report for May 15 2019
05/23/2019 - 12:05pm
Properzi Way 80 ZBA 2014-34 May 21, 2014 PDF icon ProperziWay80.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/27/2014 - 11:20am
Bay State Ave 80 ZBA2009-07 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Powderhouse Blvd 80 ZBA 2018-82 Aug 08, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Corrected site plan for August 8 2018
PDF icon Staff Report 08/22/2018 - 5:32pm
Yorktown St 80-82 ZBA 2016-23 Apr 20, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/21/2018 - 10:32am

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