Marion Planning Board candidate Steve Kokkins aims to preserve, plan for the future

By Jennifer Heshion | May 14, 2012
Courtesy of: Steve Kokkins Candidate Steve Kokkins said he hopes to work with the Planning Board on making "realistic" recommendations for the town to accomplish based on objective studies.

Marion — When Marion resident Steve Kokkins entered the 2012 Town Election race for a seat on the Planning Board, he did so wanting to separate the wants from the needs.

“There’s a lot going on and we need a lot of sensible heads together, and more citizens to weigh in,” Kokkins said. “There are suddenly many large dollar projects proposed without much preparation. The boards need to take a look at all town facilities.”

The largest project is the inflow and infiltration problem in the Village, which due to the decline of the 100-year old drainage pipes, has been causing clean water to enter into the sewer system, Kokkins said.

Engineers from Camp, Dresser and McKee have proposed an eight-year, $27 million project to fix the roads and sewers in the town’s center.

The proposal would have to be approved by a Town Meeting, but before then, Kokkins, an engineer, has suggested taking a better look at the details before moving forward.

“I tend not to take anything at face value,” Kokkins said. “The amount of money they are proposing is beyond the capability of the town to support. A more objective inquiry is needed.”

Kokkins is running against incumbents Steve Gonsalves and John Sweeney for one of two seats on the Planning Board.

“I saw a need to run to contribute in a small way to get most of the needs,” he said. “I love Marion and its ambiance. We want to preserve that and plan for the future.”

Before moving to Marion in 1995, Kokkins lived in Boxford, and served 10 years on both the town’s Planning Board and on the Zoning Board of Appeals.

If elected on May 25, Kokkins said there are two issues he would like to work on during his three-year term.

The first being a need for the town’s boards and residents to decide on how to best use town facilities such as the Town House and the Music Hall. Both buildings are in need of repair, he said.

Secondly, Kokkins said he would like to see the town approve a Neighborhood Overlay District, allowing for both residential and limited commercial development in the area near Route 6 and 105. Last year, Town Meeting turned down the Planning Board’s proposal.

However, Kokkins said he hasn’t given up hope.

“I would like to see that area improved, more usable and more attractive for the citizens,” he said. “We need creative solutions on how to make the area more user-friendly, and also have a great neighborhood.”

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