Story Category: The Bay Net Exclusives »
Department Holds Open House, Honors Past Leaders
Prince Frederick, MD - 8/8/2012
By Marty Madden
Before looking forward with a new name, revised challenges, a restructured organization and a remodeled headquarters, the Calvert County Department of Community Planning and Building (formerly the Department of Planning and Zoning) took a look back in time.
The department’s open house, held Tuesday, Aug. 7, began with the unveiling of two commemorative plaques honoring two of Calvert County’s planning pioneers—Col. Lawrence Bowlby and Frank Jacklitsch.
“It will always be Planning and Zoning to me,” said Commissioners’ President Gerald W. “Jerry” Clark [R], the lone commissioner to vote opposed to the proposed department name change earlier this year. Clark conceded that “zoning can be something that has a negative effect” for landowners who may not be able to build certain structures on their properties because of the ordinances on the books. The board president pointed out that Calvert County “is not overrun by a lot of strip development” and that fact can be attributed to the planning programs that had their origins during the late 1960s.
Former state senator and county commissioner Bernie Fowler marveled at how far Calvert has come since the days when it “was a poor subdivision. But we knew some things were coming.” Fowler said county leaders envisioned a more heavily populated county with the widening of Route 4, Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant and construction of the Governor Thomas Johnson Bridge all planned by state officials. “Things were going to happen in Calvert County,” said Fowler.
With the aid of federal money, allocated for “emergency manpower,” the county was able to pay Bowlby $60 a week to serve as the county’s planning officer, a post he held from 1968 to 1977. Fowler said Bowlby was only supposed to work a few days a week but put in many more hours beyond what he was paid. “He had a love for Calvert County,” Fowler said of Bowlby, who passed away in 2006. “We had to create a plan or leave the gate open. He was key in helping us set the structure.”
Bowlby is recognized on the plaque for leading the process to create “The Pleasant Peninsula Plan of 1974.”
Fowler also praised the many professionals who comprised the department’s staff throughout its six decades of existence. “You don’t go anywhere without good staff,” said Fowler.
Former department director Greg Bowen recalled serving on the Calvert County Planning Commission when Jaklitsch was hired to lead Planning and Zoning. “I thought his New York accent fit in very well in Calvert County,” said Bowen.
Jaklitsch handled the challenges of accommodating residential and commercial growth by involving an army of citizens in crafting Calvert’s first Comprehensive Plan during the early 1980s. The result was an award-winning concept, the town center master plan. In 1985 the American Institute of Certified Planners gave Jaklitsch its national award for “outstanding planning.” He was honored by his peers as the Maryland Planner of the Year for 1989 and received a lifetime achievement award in 2004, a year before his retirement.
Bowen credited Jaklitsch, who died this past March, with leading the county in developing methods for sparing farmlands from overdevelopment, reducing buildout and preventing strip mall commercialization in Calvert. Bowen noted that all of the initiatives were controversial but “I think it came out OK. Frank was always able to work with both sides of the aisle.”
Clark said despite some of the ongoing problems with state officials regarding who has authority over land use issues in Maryland’s jurisdictions, Calvert’s methods for managing growth continues to be held up as a good example. Noting that protecting the waters surrounding Calvert County is a major land use challenge, Clark declared, “we are going to continue to work for the river and the bay.”
Contact Marty Madden at firstname.lastname@example.org
Be The First To Comment On This Story!
Send This Story to a Friend!