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.

Streetsort descending Number Case Number First Hearing Date Decisions Other Reports Updated date
Walnut Street 166 ZBA 2018-28 Apr 04, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 08/03/2018 - 11:33am
Walnut Street 21 ZBA 2017-57 Sep 06, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 8-15-17 PDF icon Staff Report 08/06/2018 - 12:16pm
Ward 10-12 ZBA 2017-122-E1-121/8 Jan 09, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Previous Decision
PDF icon Staff Memo 01/30/2019 - 2:34pm
Ward St 10-12 ZBA 2017-122-R1-2019 May 15, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set - Proposed Revisions
PDF icon Updated Revision Set for June 19, 2019
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report for June 19 2019 ZBA
07/08/2019 - 9:10am
Ward St 10-12 ZBA 2017-122 Jan 17, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Ward St 10-12 - Plan Set for January 17, 2017 PDF icon Ward St 10-12 - Staff Report.pdf 08/07/2018 - 8:53am
Ward Street 29 ZBA 2019-42 Jun 05, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Architectural Plan 2-20-19
PDF icon Accessibility Letter 2-22-19
PDF icon Site Plan 6-25-19
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
08/12/2019 - 4:15pm
Ware Street 46 ZBA 2017-19 Apr 05, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 1-17-17
PDF icon Plan Set 3-22-17
PDF icon Staff Report 08/06/2018 - 11:36am
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
Warner St 38 ZBA 2014-47 Jun 18, 2014 PDF icon WarnerSt38.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/27/2014 - 11:17am
Warner St 38 ZBA 2011-72 Oct 19, 2011 PDF icon WarnerSt38 (Denied).pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 12/16/2011 - 11:31am
Warren Ave 15 ZBA 2010-69 Oct 15, 2010 PDF icon WarrenAve15.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon PB Report
09/09/2011 - 11:30am
Warwick 15 ZBA 2016-03 Jun 22, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/21/2018 - 10:09am
Warwick St 29 ZBA 2015-05 Mar 04, 2015 PDF icon WarwickSt29.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 03/18/2015 - 1:22pm
Warwick St 20 ZBA 2014-99 Nov 05, 2014 PDF icon WarwickSt20.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 02/23/2015 - 10:23am
Warwick St 26 ZBA 2014-100 Nov 05, 2014 PDF icon WarwickSt26.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 02/23/2015 - 10:23am

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