Lewes planner named Elaine Bisbee Award recipient

February 22, 2019

Lewes planner Tom West has only worked for the city for two years, but his impact has been immeasurable. 

West was named this year’s recipient of the Elaine Bisbee Award, which is handed out each year to a city employee who displays dedication, dependability, reliability and excellent work habits, and who is team-oriented and committed to providing quality service. The award is typically handed out at city council’s March regular meeting, but officials surprised West with it Feb. 11. 

“Tom is a highly experienced planner who brought those skills to Lewes,” said Mayor Ted Becker. “As the city has continued to experience significant growth both within the city and on its borders, Tom has been able to provide expert assistance to the Lewes Planning Commission and city council.”

He continued, “Tom has been able to help the city in working with both Sussex County and the Office of State Planning Coordination. The members of the planning commission have benefited from the detailed background information Tom has been able to provide on specific projects.”

Before moving to Lewes, West worked 30 years as a planner for the Chester County Planning Commission in Pennsylvania, developing comprehensive plans, working closely with the county’s 73 municipalities and engaging the public in the process. 

In Chester County, West was part of a team that developed the county’s comp plan, called Landscapes. It won state and national awards for public engagement. West and his Chester County colleagues were also successful in establishing the Vision Partnership Program, an initiative that rewarded local municipalities with grants for adopting policies or engaging in projects that were in line with the county’s comp plan. 

West earned a bachelor’s in planning from West Chester University in Pennsylvania and followed it with a master’s in public administration with an emphasis in planning, also from West Chester.

West was born and raised in Chester County and often visited the Delaware beaches. His father moved to the Lewes area in his retirement years.