CHESHIRE — Planning and Zoning Commissioners officially said goodbye to Town Planner William Voelker during a recent PZC meeting.
Voelker, who has been the Town Planner for the past 16 years in Cheshire, is retiring to spend more time with his family.
“Today we have to say goodbye …,” began PZC Chair Earl Kurtz III at the Dec. 13 meeting. “It’s been wonderful to have you here to bounce everything off you. I will say, I love how you always had us prepared for every meeting … A lot of things you’ve taken care of ahead of time so nothing (new) was really thrown at us. I appreciate that.”
Commissioner Woody Dawson added that Voelker’s straightforward personality is something he has always admired, and helped Voelker gain a positive reputation throughout the state.
“Bill, you’re well liked in this state like I cannot believe,” he said. “When I tell people I’m from Cheshire, they always say ‘Oh, Bill Voelker, he’s a great guy.’ Good luck to you, Bill, and thanks for leading us as far as you did.”
Voelker has been a town planner for approximately 40 years, having served in that position in Simsbury prior to being hired in Cheshire. Commissioners credited Voelker for having helped facilitate many of the economic and residential developments that are still in town today.
Voelker ultimately made the decision to move to Cheshire in order to be closer to his family — a decision he has never regretted.
“I have been able to watch my kids grow up, which is what I wanted when I first came here,” Voelker told The Herald. “Funnily enough, my replacement is also coming from Simsbury.”
Voelker will be replaced by current Simsbury Town Planner Michael Glidden.
Commissioner Louis Todisco said that when Voelker was first hired, it was explained to him that Voelker was the person other town planners looked to for advice.
“He is extremely knowledgeable and is absolutely the type of person who others would call for help,” he said.
Commissioner Matt Bowman commented on Voelker’s willingness to assist anyone, regardless of whether they served on the PZC or not.
Voelker thanked the members of the PZC, and added that his fondness for Cheshire has only grown over the years.
“I try to enable you guys (on the Commission) to make an informed decision, and I try to do it as well as I can,” he said. “… I actually took a pay cut to come here (from Simsbury) and it was 100% worth it for me to do that because I got to spend more time with my family … this has been the best place I’ve ever worked. It’s a great community.”
In his parting message, Voelker added that he hopes the current commissioners will focus on a particular aspect of the community once he is gone, although Voelker admitted that he likely will still be around to help whenever he is needed.
“Make sure you remember that (children) are your most precious resource,” he said. “That’s why you as a community exist, to raise children and to take care of them to make this a really good place for people to be, for families to be and congregate together to share all of these things that make Cheshire great. I am going to rely upon you all to remember that.”