Amy Wistreich
Amy Wistreich

By Thane Grauel

WESTPORT — The Democratic Town Committee on Thursday chose to recommend that Amy Wistreich fill a vacant Planning and Zoning Commission seat.

Wistreich has been a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals since first being appointed to fill a vacancy there in 2019.

“Amy was elected in 2021 and currently serves as secretary,” DTC Chairwoman Michelle Mechanic said in an email to Democrats earlier this week.

“She has a degree in environmental design and spent her career working on every aspect of construction, including architecture, engineering, design, planning, project management, contracts, and insurance, in both the corporate and nonprofit sectors,” Mechanic said.

The DTC’s nominations committee chose Wistreich from a field of 14 candidates.

The vacancy on the P&Z was created after then-Chairwoman Danielle Dobin was elected to the Board of Finance in the Nov. 7 election. She had two years left on her term so her seat must be filled by another Democrat.

Jim Ezzes.
Jim Ezzes

Thursday, ZBA Chairman Jim Ezzes made the motion to recommend Wistreich to the Planning and Zoning Commission, which has the power to fill the seat under the town charter.

“Most people don’t know we exist until they need us,” Ezzes said of the ZBA. “But we’ve made significant improvements in the town and Amy has been a significant part of that …”  

“A successful ZBA member has to have a broad knowledge not only of the zoning regulations, but how all the town departments fit together like a jigsaw puzzle,” he said. “Amy understands that 100 percent.”

Ezzes said that when his board interviewed Wistreich for the earlier ZBA vacancy, they all knew she was right.

“She is smart, fair, very personable and would make educated, impartial decisions,” he said.

“Amy is supremely qualified,” said Ellen Lautenberg in seconding the recommendation.

“There were so many great applicants, and I feel very humbled,” Wistreich said.

“If I get this vote, I appreciate the confidence in me, and I will assure a very smooth and seamless transition for the P&Z,” she said. “I consider it a huge privilege to serve our town. I’m grateful for the opportunity, and I’m very honored to be supported by the DTC, if that’s what you choose.”

The DTC did not take a roll call vote, instead asking for a show of hands in the Zoom meeting. If anyone was opposed, it wasn’t clear.

If P&Z members vote to have Wistreich fill the seat, that will leave a vacancy on the ZBA for which Democrats will recommend an appointee.

The P&Z also will have to choose a new chairperson. It meets next at 7 p.m. Dec. 4, online.

Thane Grauel grew up in Westport and has been a journalist in Fairfield County and beyond for 35 years. Reach him at editor@westportjournal.com. Learn more about us here.