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Take Three: AMSCD Electoral Maps Will Have Further Revision

The process to begin directly electing at least one member of the Ave Maria Stewardship Community District board hit another bump in the road Friday when a revised map showing the amount of "urban area" in the district was determined to be in need of further changes.

The additional changes, which will include parks and some other areas not counted in the first revision, will be presented at the board's next meeting scheduled for Oct. 4. The additional changes are almost certainly not going to change the number of seats to be directly elected initially – that will remain at one – but board Chairman Tom Peek said it was important to get the maps right so that future calculations will be accurate.

The number of seats that will be converted from being elected by landowners to being elected by residents is determined by the percentage of "urban area" in the entire district, which in total comprises 10,805 acres. If that percentage, which currently is between 15 and 20 percent, is below 25 percent then one seat on the five-member board will be directly elected. When the percentage is between 25 and 50 percent, two seats are directly elected; 50-70 percent, three seats; 70-90 percent, four seats; above 90 percent, five seats.

The maximum number of seats that can ever be directly elected by residents in the district is three, however, according to numbers presented Friday by Barron Collier Vice President David Genson. And getting to three will require development beyond the 5,027 acres that are specified for the Town of Ave Maria. No such development currently is planned.

Mr. Genson said that of the 10,805 total acres in the district, 3,207 can never be developed meaning the maximum amount of "urban area" is 70.32 percent of the total. There currently are no plans to develop land beyond the boundaries of the Town of Ave Maria, but Mr. Genson said that smaller developments, called villages or hamlets in land development documents, can be built within the boundaries of the district. One such area, he said, is the sod farm that is just north of Oil Well Rd. east of Ave Maria Blvd.

In other matters at the Friday board meeting:

anthem1-350- The board approved proceeding with preliminary work for issuance of about $26 million in debt instruments. About $16 million will be for bonds that will pay for infrastructure in Maple Ridge. Interest on those bonds will be borne by the future residents of those areas. Another $10 million will be in the form of Bond Anticipation Notes (BANs) that will finance an extension of Anthem Parkway to Roma St. as well as access to areas just north of Oil Well Rd. that will be developed in the near future. One of those developments is additional expansion by Arthrex; another is a newly-disclosed plan to build a 250-story rental apartment complex west of Ave Maria Blvd.(pictured, construction on Anthem Parkway at Ave Maria Blvd. opposite the entrance to Del Webb)

- Supervisors rejected a request by local real estate agent Raymond Lasowski to put a sign advertising his business on district land pending completion of a comprehensive policy on signage that is expected at the next meeting. The board also voted to direct staff to remove unauthorized signs 30 days after notice is given to the sign owner to take it down. Meantime, Mr. Genson said Ave Maria Development is working with home developers in town to move any signs for their developments that currently are on district property to land that is owned by the individual developers.

- District attorney Alyssa Wilson said work on a promised manual for golf cart rules is almost done and will be presented at the next meeting.

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