Calvert Co.'s First Planners Memorialized

Bowlby, Jaklitsch Credited with Calvert's Balanced Growth

Former Sen. Bernie Fowler helps unveil a plaque memorializing Col. Lawrence Bowlby. (Photo: Calvert Co. Gov.)
Former Sen. Bernie Fowler helps unveil a plaque memorializing Col. Lawrence Bowlby. (Photo: Calvert Co. Gov.)

PRINCE FREDERICK, Md.—Calvert County honored two of its first community planners Aug. 7 as the Department of Community Planning and Building dedicated plaques to Col. Lawrence Bowlby and Frank Jaklitsch.

During the plaque dedication ceremony, former Sen. Bernie Fowler said Bowlby was an integral part of getting subdivision regulations in place in the 1970s, when the pace of growth had started to rapidly increase.

Bowlby founded the county Office of Planning in 1968 and was the county planner until 1977. He was a leader in the process to create the 1974 countywide land use plan, dubbed the Pleasant Peninsula Plan. When he was charged with developing the first county comprehensive plan, the board of commissioners at the time urged him to involve citizens in planning. Working through appointed boards and commissions, Bowlby and his staff made presentations to every organization in the county that would receive them.

County planners, who at the time were almost all volunteers, struggled to create a growth plan that would prevent sprawl and preserve the county's rural character.

"We had a choice: Put a plan together that would control things or just leave the gates open and end up like Hoboken, N.J.," Fowler said. Bowlby's character, he added, was up to the task.

"There was never a moment that he didn't act with decency and integrity," Fowler said. "He was very keen in setting the infrastructure" for the county. Bowlby died in 2006.

Jaklitsch was the county's planning and zoning director from 1977 to 2005.

He established the town center master plan concept and was the recipient of numerous awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Planning Association; 1989 Maryland Planner of the Year from the Maryland Association of Planning Officials; and the 1985 National Award for Outstanding Planning from the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Former county planning and zoning director Greg Bowen worked under Jaklitsch and succeeded him in 2005. Bowen spoke of several initiatives that came about during Jaklitsch's tenure, all of which aimed to control growth.

"People have embraced them as key to the long-term sustainability of the county," Bowen said. Jaklitsch also had a knack for working with a variety of people and personalities.

"Frank was a good guy, a nice guy for people to deal with and easy to like," Bowen said. Jaklitsch died earlier this year.

Visit the Calvert County Department of Community Planning and Building online at .

Source: Calvert Co. Government

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