John Goodwin was elected chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission during the panel's annual organization meeting Tuesday night, replacing Laszlo Papp.

The now-former chairman, who held the post for the past 12 years, had announced last month that he would not seek re-election to the chairmanship, but would remain on the commission as a regular member. Tuesday's vote was chaired by First Selectman Robert Mallozzi, an ex-officio member of the commission.

"The importance of this gentleman to our community and the impact he's had in our community cannot be underemphasized," Mallozzi said of Papp. "Laszlo, we thank you so very, very much."

Jean Grzelecki, who was re-elected to the secretary post, made a motion to nominate Goodwin as chairman. With no opposition, both were elected unanimously to the leadership posts.

Goodwin, a Democrat, has been a member since 2005. He's also a director at Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management.

"This is a big job and I don't take this position lightly," Goodwin said of his new post. "We have ... a responsibility to look at the greater good of this town and to shepherd to orderly development of this town."

The new chairman also thanked Papp for his years of leadership. He said the former chairman, a native Hungarian, showed the commission the importance of being "patient" when dealing with development proposals in town.

"Laszlo is sort of a great American success story and part of that is his life didn't start in the States," Goodwin said. "He's always upheld us to the great standards of how we should behave in this commission."

Papp previously served as a member of the commission starting in the late 1970s for 12 years. He's also served a term on the Inland Wetland Commission as a charter member, two terms on the Town Council, and is now also on the Historical Review Committee.

noliveira@bcnnew.com, 203-330-6582, @olivnelson