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Residents Need to Heed Warnings to Not Attract Bears, AMSCD Supervisor Advises

Residents of Ave Maria who don't follow the rules by putting their trash out the night before collection day might face fines in the future.

That warning came Tuesday at the regular meeting of the Ave Maria Stewardship Community District from board member Liesa Priddy, who also is on the board of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWCC).

Citing trash mismanagement as the major cause for bears coming into residential neighorhoods, Mrs. Priddy said, "Some people don't leave us any recourse, whether it's a commercial dumpster or a resident."

Mrs. Priddy referred to an incident in the last week when a bear who roamed the Emerson Park neighborhood lay down on a doorstep for about an hour before being shooed away by FWCC officers who fired beanbag shotgun shells at it. That bear was clearly not afraid of people, she said.

The FWCC is prepared to start more formal action if residents continue to put trash out by the curb the night before it is collected, she said. "There will be an escalating series of actions, verbal warnings, written warnings and eventually tickets."

In other items considered at the AMSCD meeting:

- The board approved the third version of electoral maps showing the amount of "urban area" in the district, a calculation that will be used to determine the number of seats on the board that will be directly elected by residents. The final calculation is that 16.8 percent of the district is "urban," meaning that one seat will be directly elected once elections are held. The percentage would need to reach 25 percent for two seats to be elected. The map is contained in the full meeting book available here on the AMSCD website. If no objections are made to the map within 30 days, the electoral process will move forward. The next step, district manager Todd Wodraska said, is to set a date for an election and specify how people can declare candidacy. He said he expected the election to be held by sometime in February.

- Preliminary work for offerings of about $19 million in district bonds for infrastructure was approved, and final approval will be up for consideration when the Tuesday meeting is continued Thursday, Oct. 20 at 9 a.m. A little over $8,100,000 in debt will be in the form of bonds to pay for infrastructure for Maple Ridge Phase 4, Maple Ridge Reserve Phase 2 and Coquina Phases 2 and 3. Interest will be paid by homeowners in those phases. The other offering, in the form of Bond Anticipation Notes, will finance construction of the next phases of Anthem Parkway and other infrastructure improvements in the area of Arthrex, for both commercial and residential development. Developers will bear the costs of that financing.

- District Manager Todd Wodraska reported that staff are still working on a policy governing signs on district roads and property. The work is taking time because, according to the district's attorney, Jonathan Johnson, "it is fraught with legal problems if we go down the wrong path." Meantime, any requests for signs need to be brought before the board. One such request, for a sign on Ave Maria Blvd. for the new Rusty Putter restaurant in Del Webb, was unanimously rejected by the board, with supervisors expressing reservations of approving any signs for private businesses at this time.

- Mr. Wodraska said that a final draft of the handbook for golf cart ownership and operation was completed. A copy is available for download in PDF format here.

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