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
Murdock Street 50-54 ZBA 2018-19 Nov 28, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 12-29-17
PDF icon Accessibility Letter 12-26-17
PDF icon Drainage Report 12-19-17
PDF icon Plan Set 7-17-18
PDF icon Plan Set 9-7-18
PDF icon Plan Set 11-8-18
PDF icon Setback Calculations 11-27-18
PDF icon Plan Set 12-04-18
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report 11-28-18
PDF icon 2nd Updated Staff Report 12-12-18
12/19/2018 - 1:00pm
Roland Street / Inner Belt Rd 56 / 0 & 20 PB 2018-18 Nov 29, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Subdivision Plan 10-10-18 PDF icon Staff Report 12/12/2018 - 11:13am
Taylor 9 ZBA 2018-144 Dec 12, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set - Initial Submission PDF icon Staff Report 02/12/2019 - 9:07am
Prospect St 109-111 ZBA 2018-139 Dec 12, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set Memo
PDF icon Plan Set 10-4-2018
PDF icon Plan Set for 2-6-2019 ZBA
PDF icon Plan Set for 2-20-2019 ZBA
PDF icon Plot Plan
PDF icon Staff Report 03/12/2019 - 1:28pm
Oak St 43-45 ZBA 2016-89-R1-(11/14) Dec 12, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Staff Report 12/26/2018 - 1:47pm
Heath St 124 ZBA 2018-148 Dec 12, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Updated Plans
PDF icon Plans for 2-20-2019
PDF icon Updated plans for March 6, 2019 ZBA
PDF icon Staff Report 03/12/2019 - 1:36pm
Elmwood Street 17 ZBA 2018-125 Dec 12, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 8-23-18
PDF icon Survey 5-8-18
PDF icon Staff Report 02/12/2019 - 9:09am
College Ave 118-124 ZBA 2018-166 Dec 12, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Staff Report 07/08/2019 - 9:09am
Mystic Ave 654 ZBA 2018-167 Dec 12, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set approved for building permit PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report 1-7-19
01/30/2019 - 2:40pm
Montgomery Avenue 7 ZBA2015-98-R1-1018 Dec 12, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon cover letter
PDF icon site plan (BP)
PDF icon constructed photos
PDF icon violation
PDF icon MontgomeryAve7_Revision-StaffReport-121218.pdf 12/26/2018 - 11:12am
McGrath Highway 1 ZBA 2018-138 Dec 12, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Narrative of changes
PDF icon Architectural Plans 9-27-18
PDF icon Civil Plans 9-26-18
PDF icon Staff Report 03/12/2019 - 12:11pm
Sewall Street 47 ZBA 2018-154 Dec 12, 2018 PDF icon Decision 07/08/2019 - 9:07am
Otis 28 ZBA 2018-145 Dec 12, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set - Initial Submission PDF icon Staff Report 02/12/2019 - 9:08am
Broadway 70 PB 2017-13-R1-11/18 Dec 13, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 10-30-18
PDF icon Accessibility Letter 10-30-18
PDF icon Staff Report 12/26/2018 - 11:14am
Earle Street - revision 2 PB2018-04-R1-1018 Dec 13, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon previous decision
PDF icon site plan
PDF icon drawing set
PDF icon civil & landscape
PDF icon shadow analysis
PDF icon LEED scorecard
PDF icon transportation access
PDF icon mobility management
PDF icon project narrative
PDF icon staff report 12/26/2018 - 11:13am

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