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The Ave Herald

Serving the community of Ave Maria, Florida


Public Hearing Will Discuss Zoning Change for Jackson Lab Site

As the Collier County commissioners continue to examine ways to fund the county's $130-million share of the proposed Jackson Lab facility on Oil Well Rd., other work is proceeding to lay the groundwork for construction if the project gets the green light.

One of the steps involves getting appropriate zoning for the 50 acres of land that would be donated by the Barron Collier Cos. for construction of the Jackson Lab facility. The county planning commission will consider the zoning proposal at a public hearing Nov. 4, beginning at 8:30 a.m. in the County Government Center in Naples. Notifications of this hearing have been sent to many town residents and merchants, and the use of the term "town center" has raised some questions.

plan1aThere are already hundreds of acres of land zoned for commercial development in what is officially called the "Ave Maria Stewardship Receiving Area."  Barron Collier is proposing, according to its chief engineer, David Genson, to move 50 of those acres from one area of the official plan on file with the county to the site on Oil Well Rd. where the Jackson Lab building would be constructed.

On the plan, there are three commercial areas in the "receiving area," which are officially designated as "town centers." The proposal is to take about half of the 100 acres in "town center 2" - which is off Pope John Paul II Blvd near Camp Keais Rd. - and move the parcel to the Oil Well Rd. site, which then would be officially designated "town center 2a." The original "town center 2" area would have been the site of the planned Arthrex facility. The illustration at left shows the original plan, with a red circle around the 50 acres that would be rezoned as residential so that the commercial designation could be relocated.

"Town center 1" - which is the actual center of the town of Ave Maria and shown at the bottom of the illustration - remains unchanged as does "town center 3," which is known as the Park of Commerce area and is the site of the DaVita Dialysis center and the gas station. A PDF file here shows the existing plan for the entire area (from which the illustration at left was taken) and illustrates the current location of the commercially-zoned area and its proposed relocation.

The proposed relocation of 50 commercially-zoned acres will accommodate only the planned Jackson Lab building, said Mr. Genson, and not the other 200-250 acres that would be needed for other development proposed for the research park area such as a charter high school, small hospital and satellite campus for the University of South Florida Medical School. This will be handled in future zoning changes, but Mr. Genson did not specify exactly what those changes would entail.

People may submit commentson the changes being considered in writing in advance, or make them in person at the Nov. 4 hearing.


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