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Wide Range of Topics at AMSCD Meeting

The board of the Ave Maria Stewardship approved procedures Tuesday for the first election that will have a popular vote to elect a member of the board.

The election will be held April 25 with polls open from noon until 7 p.m. at the offices of the Ave Maria Master Association. Anyone considering running for the board needs to submit appropriate documents during a one-week "qualifying period" March 24-31. Candidates must be at least 18 years old, a U.S. citizen, a resident of both Florida and the district, registered to vote in Collier County, and need to submit either a $25 qualifying fee or collect 25 signatures from residents to get on the ballot. All paperwork, rules and other requirements can be obtained from Luisa Rosales at the Ave Maria Master Association.

Voting must be done in person and there will be no provision for absentee or early voting, District Manager Todd Woddraska told the meeting.

Also at the board meeting:

- Fire Chief Paul Anderson, whose Immokalee Fire Control District is responsible for Ave Maria, said plans to build a permanent fire station in Ave Maria remain stalled due to a lack of agreement from Collier County that is needed to secure the land. He explained that the hang-up is a difference of opinion on what compensation, if any, developers would receive for three acres of land they are making available in the Park of Commerce for public safety buildings. Chief Anderson said his department and Ave Maria Development have agreed that developers be compensated in the form of credit on impact fees but the county staff, he said, believe the land, which would also be used for county facilities for EMS and police, should be provided at no cost. The next step, he said, is another meeting with County Commissioner Bill McDaniel, who told a residents' meeting March 2 that he was working with the county staff to resolve the matter.

- A Maple Ridge resident noted that there have been three robberies or attempted break-ins on Ferrari Ave in the last few weeks and asked what could be done to improve security. Board Chairman Tom Peek noted that the board is responsible for infrastructure in Ave Maria and has no authority over policing, and suggested residents take concerns directly to the Collier County Sheriff's Office. A representative of the sheriff's office often attends board meetings, but none was present for this one. Board member Liesa Priddy said that in her experience, locks were the best deterrent. Board member Tom DiFlorio said that efforts to have neighborhood watch programs and patrols by residents have floundered due to a lack of commitment by residents. "Everybody wants action, nobody wants to step up," he said.

- The board delayed for 30 days taking any action of possible steps to modify roundabouts, one of which on Ave Maria Blvd. has sustained frequent damage from large trucks. The district's engineer, Dan Brundage, presented two different proposals to modify the existing roundabout at Ave Maria Blvd. and Milano, each of which would cost about $70,000. Developer representative David Genson asked for 30 more days to consider those and other possibilities that would be aimed at both minimizing damage and also slowing down the speed of trucks.

- Mr. Genson also provided development updates: 1) Site development has started for the Maple Ridge amenity Center; 2) Site development is anticipated late this year on a 250-unit rental apartment complex near Ave Maria Blvd. and Oil Well Rd.; 3) "Significant interest" is being expressed by companies looking to locate in the Park of Commerce. He said he and Cee Cee Marinelli of Barron Collier will provide more details on development in Ave Maria March 21 at an open meeting that will be held at the offices of the Ave Maria Master Association.

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