When Chip Stephens leaves Westport for Maine this month, the Planning & Zoning Commission will have big shoes to fill.
And our town will lose one of its most ardent boosters, and dedicated public servants.
The 1973 Staples High School graduate — a Westport resident since the age of 5 — will become code enforcement officer for 2 towns northwest of Augusta. He honed his skills as a 3-term P&Z member, including serving as chair. He also chaired the Village District Regulation Committee, Superstorm Sandy Recovery Regulation Committee, and other groups.
Stephens has worked to preserve Bedford Elementary School (now Town Hall), Cockenoe Island and open space.
Last fall, he was the Republican nominee for State Representative in District 136, against incumbent Jonathan Steinberg.
In addition, Stephens coached Staples High School wrestling, and PAL football, basketball and baseball.
Danielle Dobin — the Democratic chair of the P&Z — says:
Chip has been a larger-than-life tour de force on the commission.
It’s challenging to put into words the love Chip feels for Westport, except to say that he dedicated his heart and soul to this town. His tough-guy presence on the P&Z belies the warmth and love he shows his fellow commissioners. When Chip invites you into his life, you are like family, no matter your politics.
When Michael Cammeyer and I joined the P&Z, Chip took us for a tour of “secret” Westport. He showed us old military sites and hidden parks, and shared stories from his youth.
When my son fell ill at camp up in Maine, Chip wanted to rush to the hospital to help. When I co-chaired the Monster Mash, he showed up to hang massive spiders from the ceiling. The Commission will not be the same without him.
Well said, Danielle! Chip Stephens’ service here has been long, strong, passionate and proud. Westport’s loss is certainly Maine’s gain.