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AMSCD Sends Golf Cart Ordinance to County Commissioners

The Ave Maria Stewardship Community District gave its stamp of approval Tuesday to a draft county ordinance that would put some restrictions in place on the operation of golf carts in town, particularly by younger drivers. The proposed measure now moves on to consideration by the Board of County Commissioners, which is expected to take a preliminary look at it by late April or early May.

The main thrusts of the proposed ordinance deal with the age of the driver and the use of golf carts on certain streets and sidewalks in town.

Golf cart operators would be required to have a valid driver's license or learner's permit, which effectively sets the minimum age for operation at 15. Golf carts would be banned from public sidewalks except for large sidewalks along Ave Maria Blvd. south of Milano St. and Pope John Paul II Blvd. east of Milano St. There also will be sidewalks to accommodate golf carts on the yet-to-be-built extension of Anthem Parkway.

The approval by the board appears to bring to a close discussion that have gone on for years about setting rules for golf cart operation that could be enforced by Collier County sheriff's deputies. The proposed ordinance, and a map showing where golf carts can be operated in sidewalks, is in the meeting book here.

In other business, district Manager Todd Wodraska told the supervisors that he expects that Collier County Supervisor of Elections Jennifer Edwards to act soon to certify the signatures on a petition signed by more than 160 town residents in favor of directly electing one of the five members of the board of the stewardship community district. Once the signatures are certified, the next step would be a referendum asking all eligible voters in Ave Maria if they wish one or more seats to be chosen through direct election by registered voters, or keep the current system where votes are determined by the amount of property owned. If the referendum passes, then developers would need to draw up maps showing the amount of "urban" area in town, which would determine the number of seats to be elected, and there would be an election scheduled. Mr. Wodraska said he would present recommendations at a later meeting for which seat, or seats, would be up for election.

The board also heard an update from Barron Collier Vice President David Genson on discussions with the Immokalee Fire Control District regarding the potential construction of a permanent fire station in town. Fire and rescue crews currently work out of a temporary trailer north of the Ave Maria University campus.

Mr. Genson said that the developers are required by the town's founding documents to reserve three acres for a permanent facility, but indicated that there are differences of opinion between the developers and the fire control board on exactly where it would be located. He suggested that the fire chief favors a location on Pope John Paul II Blvd., while developers prefer a location in the Park of Commerce near the gas station. He also said that details have not be worked out regarding terms of any arrangement, including possible impact credits to the developer for donating the land. (Note: The Ave Herald has asked Fire Chief Paul Anderson for comment and will provide an update after further information is in hand.)

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