Metters, Nicastro, Cocolis Win Chatham Selectmen's Seats

By: Tim Wood

Topics: Politics

Town Clerk Julie Smith swore in three members of the board of selectmen on Friday. Taking the oath were (from left) Dean Nicastro, Peter Cocolis and Cory Metters. In their first official act, selectmen elected Nicastro as the board’s chairman, with Metters to serve as vice chair and Cocolis becoming clerk. ALAN POLLOCK PHOTO

CHATHAM – Two familiar faces and one newcomer won seats on the board of selectmen in last Tuesday's annual town election.

Incumbents Dean Nicastro and Cory Metters each won a second three-year term on the board, while planning board chairman Peter Cocolis captured a one-year seat left vacant by the resignation of Amanda Love.

Metters topped the voting for the two three-year terms with 1,251, followed by Nicastro with 1,006, and former Selectman Seth Taylor with 436. There were 468 blanks cast in the three-way race.

Cocolis topped challenger Jamie Bassett, chairman of the town's shellfish advisory committee, 967 to 577, with 39 blanks.

The only other race on the ballot, for a five-year housing authority term, was won by incumbent Priscilla Ford. She had 766 votes to Kayta Koehler-Rice's 440.

The rainy day saw a turnout of 1,583 voters, or 28 percent of the 5,637 registered. There were only three contested races on ballot and no questions.

"This means a lot to me," said Metters, who grew up in town and owns and operates a candy store downtown. It was his first contested race; both he and Nicastro ran unopposed in 2015. Tuesday's vote "gives me a little more drive to keep doing what I've been doing," he said, adding that he expects the board to have this a "productive year."

Wastewater, protecting and expanding the town's drinking water infrastructure, and dealing with issues along the shoreline are among his priorities, he said in answers to questions posed during the election. Workforce housing, affordable housing and highlighting the importance of volunteers to the town are also important issues to work on, he said.

"Our to-do list is very long," he said.

Nicastro, a retired attorney who worked for the city of Quincy and the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office, said he looks forward to working with Metters, Cocolis and the rest of the board, and he thanked Bassett and Taylor for putting their candidacy before voters.

Finding a site for a new senior center will be a major topic in the coming weeks, he said.  "We have a lot of infrastructure issues. I feel that's probably the most pressing," he said. Fiscal discipline and maintaining a stable tax rate will be important in the process, he added. Preserving the history and character of the town is also important to Nicastro; he said he intends to work to keep the town "historic, friendly and well-equipped for our citizens."

Cocolis, a retired aerospace executive and air force officer, said while he ran on his accomplishments on the planning board and as the town's representative on the Cape Light Compact, "I also ran on representing everybody, whether they voted for me or not."

He previously highlighted the town's housing issues as a priority, and as chairman of the planning board has worked to come up with amendments to the existing zoning bylaw to create more housing opportunities, including allowing accessory dwelling units in single-family homes. The board is currently revising an amendment to add ADUs to the zoning code. He said he sees smart planning and maintaining the town's zoning bylaw as ways to preserve the town's heritage and prevent commercial sprawl. An appropriately sized senior center is one of his priorities, he added.

Winning re-election with no opposition were Moderator William Litchfield, housing authority member Janice O'Connell, and Monomoy Regional School Committee member Jo-anne Sheehan.  Joseph Auciello also won a one-year term on the school committee.

On Friday morning the board named Nicastro its new chairman. Metters was chosen as vice chairman and Cocolis will serve as the board's clerk.