Planning and Zoning Commission Chairwoman Cathy Walsh said Wednesday she plans to step down as head of the board in the near future as she deals with a family health issue.

Walsh, who has served on the board since 2008 and been chairwoman since 2011, said she intends to fulfill her current four-year term that runs through 2015.

"Over the next few months I'm sure I will be stepping back, stepping down," Walsh, a Republican, said. "I would prefer not to have the chairman's job, but I fully intend to remain on the board. Look, everybody gets stale, everybody gets tired. Two years is enough."

She did not specify when she will step down from the post, but said it may happen before November's elections.

All four Republicans on the commission -- Walsh, Vice Chairman Jack Whittle, Secretary Chip Stephens and Al Gratrix -- have two years remaining on their terms, so the GOP will retain control of the seven-member commission beyond November.

The commission usually votes to elect a new chairman after the elections. Walsh would not say who among the three other Republicans she would support as her replacement.

"Certainly any of them are capable of leading the commission," she said.

Walsh was insistent that recent spats with Democratic members of the commission -- in particular, Ron Corwin, a former chairman -- were not contributing to her decision to step down. (See the Westport News report,

"It has nothing to do with confrontation on the board. I respect them all, even when we fight," Walsh said. "That's a normal part of doing business. If you want to do the job right, you have to have disagreement. If you don't have disagreements, you're not going to get it right."

Walsh said she has notified other members of the commission about her decision and left open the possibility that she would be interested in chairing the board again in the future.

"It may just be a temporary step back," she said.