WILTON — Serving the town of Wilton for more than 18 years as its director of planning and land use management, Bob Nerney was recognized and thanked by the Wilton League of Women Voters at its meeting on Jan. 9.

Nerney is leaving Wilton for a position in Waterbury.

In an announcement made last October, First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice expressed mixed emotions about Nerney’s departure, saying “[I am] excited for Bob that he will be returning to his beginnings, a much larger environment, a city that served as the first Connecticut home for his family and which is only 10 minutes from his current home. On the other hand, without question Bob is the best in his profession and is one of the nicest individuals one can meet.”

At the League’s meeting, Nerney presented an overview and scope of his work, saying the Planning and Zoning Department, Department of Environmental Affairs, Building and Health departments all work together to create a better community for Wilton’s residents.

He noted that future projects, procedural technological advancements, and implementation of the 2019 Wilton Plan of Conservation and Development will reflect utilization of town assets and open spaces. “There is a shift in municipal trends today,” Nerney said, “More towns are looking at and working toward design planning.”

He said there is a need to meld the economic component with community input and decision-making to create a positive vision. “[Wilton] is a community with a willingness to share [resident] expertise,” he said.

Using development to create visual opportunities in a collaborative process of both stakeholders and community provides a win-win situation for all, he concluded.

League Convener Tina Gardner presented Nerney with a certificate of appreciation for his work and dedication to the town of Wilton throughout his years of service.

Over the past 18 years, Nerney helped guide the town through two Plans of Conservation and Development. He also offered information and advice to the Planning and Zoning Commission as it considered many issues — some that brought changes to a growing town including the establishment of liquor stores and the expansion of ASML — and others that did not go forward such as a zoning request from Rolling Hills Country Club to allow employees to live on the premises, establishing age-restricted zoning, and stadium lighting at Middlebrook School.

Nerney’s tenure also saw the town establish moratoriums on medical marijuana facilities and affordable housing developments.

Replacing Nerney will be Michael Wrinn, assistant director of Planning and Zoning for the city of Norwalk. He is expected to start in Wilton on Tuesday, Jan. 21.

Wilton Bulletin Editor Jeannette Ross contributed to this story.