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Redone Electoral Map, Maple Ridge Bond Offering Before AMSCD Meeting Sept. 9

The Ave Maria Stewardship Community District board will take a look Friday at another attempt at an"urban area" map that will detemrine the number of seats on the board that will be directly elected by residents.

The map is a required step in the process for changing the method by which board members are chosen that is spelled out in the Florida legislsture's act that created the town of Ave Maria. That process began earlier this year when residents voted in a referendum to change from the current system by which members of the five-member board are elected by landowners on the basis of one vote per acre of land owned, a system that gives the developers defacto control over all seats.

The number of seats elected is determined by the amount of "urban area." If it's less than 25 percent then one seat is directly elected; between 25 and 50 percent, two seats; 50 to 70 percent, three seats; 70 to 90 percent, four seats; more than 90 percent, five seats.

The first map that was submitted was withdrawn at the last board meeting when it was noted that it did not include many areas such as commercial buildings as part of "urban area" acreage. The second map, which can be seen in the meeting book here, includes many of those parts but still leaves out areas that many might consider part of the "urban area" such as North Park, South Park, the water park and the water treatment plant. The second map shows the percentage of "urban area" at just over 15 percent of the 10,805 acres in Ave Maria.

Also on the agenda is a proposal by town developers to issue about $16 million in bonds to cover costs of infrastructure in Maple Ridge. About $3.6 million will be allocated to 364 planned homes in Maple Ridge, Maple Ridge Reserve and Coquina, with the remaining $12.5 million allocated to a 1,309 remaining planned homesites in the Maple Ridge areas.

The board also will be asked to approve having preliminary work done to float an additional $10 million in debt to finance the extension of Anthem Parkway. Interest on that short-term note will be paid by the developers pending longer-term financing down the road.

Finally, the board will revisit the question of developing a policy on what signage is appropriate on district land. When the matter came up in a previous meeting, standards for the physical appearance of signs was proposed, but it was never determined which businesses in town -- if any -- could have signs on district property. Raymond Lazowski, a real estate agent in town, has asked for permission to put a sign up advertising his business. 

The AMSCD is a special district board responsible primarily for infrastructure in the town of Ave Maria including major roads, stormwater management and irrigation. The meeting Friday, Sept. 9, is at 9 a.m. and is open to the public. 

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