I did not “plan” to be a planner! When I graduated from college, I took up farming. I was oblivious to the fact that while I was in college (of course, deeply immersed in my math books) Calvert County had prepared a new plan, known as the Pleasant Peninsula Plan. My only civic engagement, when I returned from college, was to join the Calvert County Young Farmers.
When the Commissioners began the process of implementing the portion of the Plan calling for land preservation, Commissioner Bernie Fowler asked me to serve on a committee to look into land preservation options. I was representing the Young Farmers. Our committee spent most of the year studying options, developing recommendations, and holding meetings with small farmer groups. At the end, most farmers preferred that the county adopt a transferable development rights (TDR) program. Appropriate state enabling legislation was soon passed and we started our program, the first such TDR program in the state.
I really enjoyed being a part of the collaborative community-based process. I was hooked. I turned my efforts toward planning. At the tender age of 23, I was asked to serve on the Planning Commission. When there was a vacancy, I was selected to serve as an assistant planner in the county planning office. Over the years, I have been a part of a surprising number of successes with land preservation, watershed protection, and town center planning. And I’ve learned from the efforts that did not quite work out.
Through it all, I am convinced that with effective community planning efforts we can promote and maintain a successful economy, promote and maintain a strong, safe, and just society, and be good stewards of the earth.