The Ave Maria Stewardship Community District serves as a concurrency management tool that will assure timely, cost-effective, and high-quality design and implementation of infrastructure for the University and Town of Ave Maria, Florida.
Created by Special Act of the Florida Legislature pursuant to and under Florida Statutes Chapter 189 Special Purpose Local Government Act, the District became law when executed by the Governor on June 17, 2004.
AMSCD is a limited, single and specialized purpose Local Government whose single and specialized purpose is to provide infrastructure, including community development systems, facilities, services, projects, and improvements to the Ave Maria Community.
The area governed by the District is approximately 10,805 acres in Eastern Collier County and is bounded by Immokalee Road (CR- 846) on the north, Camp Keais Road on the east, Oil Well Road (CR -858) on the South, and Camp Keais Strand on the west. As of the date of creation of the District, all lands within the District were owned by affiliates of the Barron Collier Companies.
The District operates under Florida Statutes regarding government in the sunshine, competitive procurement, and financial disclosure.
Board of Supervisors
A five-person Board of Supervisors governs the District. Members must be Florida residents and United States citizens. The initial Board was nominated and elected by the landowners in an organizational meeting; two members serve for two years and three serve for four years. Successive terms are four years. Supervisors are compensated not more than $200 per meeting or $4,800 per year, plus approved travel and per diem expenses.
In addition to the general powers that allow the Board to conduct its work, its Special Powers include: provision for utilities such as water, sewer and wastewater; construction of roads, bridges, and culverts; maintenance of conservation, mitigation and wildlife habitat areas; construction and operation of recreational, cultural and healthcare facilities; construction and operation of public transportation, security, pest control, and waste collection; construction of schools for sale or lease to the School District. They may borrow money, issue bonds, and levy taxes and/or special assessments, user fees and charges.
Transfer of Control
The Board will transition from original landowners to qualified resident electors as the community of Ave Maria develops, residents become landowners and urban areas are created.
Formation of a Chapter 189 Special District allows for supplementation of the state-created charter of a Chapter 190 Community Development District, so that additional specialized powers to serve the specific needs of its community can be included. Specifically, it provides:
- Eligibility for financial enhancements available for educational facilities construction and maintenance under section 1013.356, Fla. Stat., by interlocal agreement with the Collier County School District appropriate for a new town university community.
- Provision that any system, facility or service owned by the District or funded by federal tax-exempt bonding is public so that district rules may regulate but not deny access to the public and that all district business must be conducted in strict adherence to the Florida “Government in the Sunshine” rules and regulations.
- Granting to the Board of Supervisors of the District the power at noticed meetings to set up task forces, committees and departments of the Board as and if necessary to serve unique needs of the Ave Maria University and the surrounding Ave Maria community in areas such as grounds and facilities maintenance and security.
- Granting the power to the District to coordinate with the landowner-developer and the university on the phasing of water, sewer, drainage, roadways and other required infrastructure delivery subject to the conditions of development approval, the Collier County Local Government Comprehensive Plan and the Rural Lands Stewardship Overlay, including the power to designate units within the District for progressive phased planning, implementation, construction, management, maintenance and financing (similar to chapter 298 districts or to county MSBU’s).
- Providing healthcare facilities so important to an academic community when authorized by applicable public or private agencies providing healthcare.
- Authorization for innovative agreements with the Ave Maria University in areas such as facility construction, security, health care and other specialized university requirements.
- Assurances that impact fee credits for facilities funded by the district accrue to the district and through the district to the landowner and subsequent landowners.
- Constitution of a single specialized local government as a public alternative to carry out any conditions of any Ave Maria University and Ave Maria community development approval, such as a Development of Regional Impact, negotiated between the County and the developer, including roads and other on-site and off- site improvements, Environmental Resource Permits issued by the South Florida Water Management District and other development and environmental permits and conditions placed on the community by other County, State and Federal Departments or Agencies.
Rationale for District Configuration
The District’s 10,805-acre area has been delineated in order to address the following:
- Management of a comprehensive storm water management system because both the agricultural and urban systems within the entire area between Oil Well and Immokalee Roads from Camp Keais Road west to Camp Keais Strand are now interconnected.
- Management of “Sending Areas”(SSA) within District boundaries, such as using its power for exotic vegetation control, water management, access control and related special powers.
- Delineation of logical physical boundaries, as three sides would be bound by Immokalee, Oil Well and Camp Keais Roads and one side by the Camp Keais natural preserve area.
- Decrease in incentives for incorporation, since providing many of those services which are usually the expected of local government in an efficient manner has proven to discourages potential demand for citizens and landowners to become a city.
- Dispersal of water supply wells thus minimizing the individual well pumping rates, which lessens the individual well cone of influence and aquifer draw down.