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 Numbersort ascending First Hearing Date Decisions Other Reports Updated date
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
08/07/2018 - 8:58am
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 08/07/2018 - 8:56am
Broadway 44 PB 2017-19 Nov 30, 2017 PDF icon Plan Set 9-20-17
PDF icon Landscape Plan 9-22-17
PDF icon Summary of Environmental Conditions.pdf
08/07/2018 - 1:23pm
Mystic Ave 654 PB 2017-18 Aug 17, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon FINAL 654 Mystic Schematic Plans Revised 5. 18 17.pdf PDF icon Mystic Ave 654 -Staff Report - August 17 2017-3.pdf 08/06/2018 - 12:13pm
Somerville Ave 374 PB 2017-16 and ZBA 2018-11 Oct 19, 2017 PDF icon ZBA Decision
PDF icon PB Decision
PDF icon PB Decision MEMO
PDF icon PB MEMO
PDF icon Code Report
PDF icon Plan Set 6-23-17
PDF icon Perspective Views
PDF icon Aerial Rendering
PDF icon Carlton Street Elevation
PDF icon Plan Set 3-8-18
PDF icon Plan Set 3-27-18
PDF icon Plan Set 5-24-18
PDF icon Zoning Data
PDF icon Variance Staff Report
PDF icon SPSR Staff Report
PDF icon Updated SPSR Staff Report
08/07/2018 - 1:45pm
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
Broadway 70 PB 2017-13 Jun 22, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 5-4-17
PDF icon Plan Set 6-12-17
PDF icon Plan Set 7-17-17
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report 7-26-17
08/06/2018 - 12:13pm
Broadway 284-288 PB 2017-11 May 18, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Proposed Facade Renovations PDF icon Staff Report 08/06/2018 - 11:42am
Somerville Avenue 335 PB 2017-10 Jun 08, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Facade Renovations PDF icon Staff Report 08/06/2018 - 11:58am
Somerville Avenue 321 PB 2017-08 May 04, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Riverdog_Facade_3-30-17 PDF icon Staff Report 08/06/2018 - 12:00pm
Broadway 46 PB 2017-07 May 04, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Floor Plans 4-21-17
PDF icon Schematic Facade Design 3-18-17
PDF icon Plan Set 4-26-17
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon UPDATED Staff Report
08/06/2018 - 11:48am
Broadway 46 PB 2017-07 May 04, 2017 PDF icon Broadway46.pdf 08/06/2018 - 12:04pm
Assembly Square - Grand Union Boulevard 500 (Block 5B) PB 2017-05 Apr 20, 2017 PDF icon ASQBlock5B-REVISED_Decision-CleanCopy (Combined).pdf PDF icon Index & Executive Summary
PDF icon Application & Waiver Request
PDF icon Open Space & Architectural
PDF icon Shadow Study & LEED Checklist
PDF icon Staff Report 08/06/2018 - 11:50am
ASQ Block 5B PB 2017-05 Apr 06, 2017 PDF icon ASQ Block 5B (Combined).pdf 08/06/2018 - 11:38am
Broadway 67 PB 2017-01 Mar 02, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Exterior Rendering 01-25-17
PDF icon Plan Set 12-27-16
PDF icon Staff Report 08/06/2018 - 11:26am

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