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Petitions Submitted Seeking Direct Elections for AMSCD

Residents of Ave Maria have taken their first step down a road that could lead to a change in the way supervisors on the Ave Maria Stewardship Community District board are chosen.

Robert Klucik, who led a petition drive requesting the start of a process for the change, presented 163 signed petitions at the district board meeting Tuesday, several more than required by the Florida state statute that created the town of Ave Maria.

The five supervisors on the board, which has responsibility for infrastructure elements of Ave Maria such as roads, bridges, stormwater drainage and irrigation, currently are elected by property owners in Ave Maria based on how much property they own. The system means that all positions on the board have been chosen by the developers.

The state statute stipulates a gradual process for shifting to direct election of supervisors as the town grows. Once the petitions submitted by Mr. Klucik are approved by the county supervisor of elections, the next step would be a referendum on whether residents want to make the change to direct election. If the referendum passes, one or more seats would then be up for election, with the number determined by the percent of town land considered "urban." For more on the process, see a Q&A with background here.

In other business at the meeting:

- Supervisors heard an update on a proposed ordinance regulating use of golf carts in Ave Maria (see separate story here).

- The board voted to have staff develop recommendations on requirements for using district light poles for promotional banners. The vote came in response to a request by Pulte Homes to put banners on the bridge on Seton St. promoting its new Avalon Park development. Supervisors had concerns about safety standards to ensure banners and the hardware holding them could withstand rough weather, and there were other questions about what businesses would be entitled to use the light poles for advertising their businesses.

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