First Selectman Mike Tetreau announced today that effective April 1, 2017, Assistant Planning Director James R. Wendt will serve as the Town’s Planning Director. Mr. Wendt replaces long-time Director Joseph Devonshuk who recently retired after serving the Town for the last 33 years.
As Assistant Planning Director for the Town, Mr. Wendt had provided professional guidance to Fairfield’s Town Plan and Zoning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals for more than 25 years. Mr. Wendt provided consultation to attorneys, potential developers, and property owners regarding all aspects of development applications and potential development of property.
Mr. Wendt was a key staff member to the 16-member citizen Ad Hoc committee charged with the most recent comprehensive rewrite of the Town’s Plan of Conservation and Development. He continues to serve in the same capacity for more recent area plan updates including the May 2011 adoption of the Commerce Drive Area update which was a planning effort surrounding the development of Fairfield’s newest train station.
Thanks to Mr. Wendt’s hard work and diligence as the Town’s Community Rating System (CRS) Coordinator, Fairfield is one of only eight communities in the State to qualify for FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program CRS. The floodplain management activities implemented by Fairfield qualify it for a 10 percent discount in the premiums cost of flood insurance for NFIP policies issued or renewed in Special Flood Hazard Areas on or after October 1, 2016. The 2,717 flood insurance policy holders in Town are now able to save an estimated total of $433,000 annually as a result of the Town’s participation in the CRS program.
Mr. Wendt is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, has a Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Southern Connecticut State University and has an undergraduate degree in Geography / Urban Studies from the University of Connecticut.
Mr. Wendt is a former Board Chairman of Leadership Greater Bridgeport, an affiliate of the Bridgeport Regional Business Council and is the current Chairman of the Town of Monroe Zoning Board of Appeals, having served on the Board since 1995.
Mr. Wendt stated, “I am honored and excited to succeed Joe Devonshuk as Planning Director. I appreciate the support and confidence that the Town Plan and Zoning Commission and the First Selectman have shown and expressed to me over the years. I will do my very best to honor that confidence. This is an amazing Town and I am privileged to take this step to lead the great team we have here in the Plan and Zoning Office to provide staff support to the Commissions and Boards that we serve and to offer the best service we can to the Town’s current and prospective citizens.”
First Selectman Tetreau said, “I cannot think of a more deserving and qualified individual than Jim Wendt to assume the role of Planning Director. Jim has effortlessly transitioned from Assistant Planning Director to Planning Director because of his years of experience and knowledge of our Town, his strong work ethic, and his professional and effective management style. I also wish to thank Joe Devonshuk for his dedicated years of service to our Town and wish him and his family all the best.”
The photo shows First Selectman Mike Tetreau congratulating Jim Wendt, the Town’s new Planning Director, in Mr. Wendt’s office in Independence Hall.