If you’re a developer in town looking to get the green light for a new project, the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission has been one of your first stops on the road to approval. And for nearly two decades, the person presiding over that body has been Robert deJongh.
Now, one of the longest-serving local commissioners is stepping away — retiring from the group he’s helped shape for the last 30 years.
“Serving the town of Cheshire has been an absolute pleasure of mine for the past 30 or so years,” said deJongh. “While Charles [Dimmick] still beats me for the record of longest serving town employee, I have only good memories from my time on the IWWC. I’ve been blessed to work with and for some really great people.”
DeJongh has been a member of the IWWC for a total of 33, the last 17 of which have been spent as its chairman.
At the Town Council meeting on Feb. 11, Council Chair Rob Oris made the announcement hat deJongh would be retiring from his position, as he plans to move down to North Carolina.
“He has served the Town of Cheshire admirably throughout his time as member and chair of the Inland Wetlands Committee,” Oris began. “This community does not function without volunteers, and your tenure on the committee is a testament to that. You will be greatly missed by everyone on the Council and in the town.”
Oris then presented deJongh with a Certificate of Recognition, outlining deJongh’s commitment to the tTown throughout his career, and thanking him for his service. Long-time friend and fellow IWWC member Dr. Charles Dimmick, echoed Oris’s sentiments and reflected on deJongh and his time serving the Commission.
“The time I spent on the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Committee was incredible,” deJongh remembers fondly. “I definitely got far more out of the job than I ever put in, and what more can you ask for?”
Although deJongh will be moving to Charlotte, North Carolina to be closer to his daughters, he promised that he will come back to Cheshire to visit multiple times throughout the year.
One of the reasons deJongh remained active on the IWWC, he admitted, was because of his love and appreciation for the community as a whole.
“Cheshire is an amazing town,” deJongh said after the meeting. “I built my house here in 1985 and have been involved in the town for such a long time, I really do love this place and it will be surely missed."
Besides serving on the IWWC, deJongh is also the founder of NEi Financial, LLC, which has been in Cheshire for over 40 years.
There is no word yet on who may replace deJongh in the future, and a new IWWC Chairman has yet to be named.