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Ave Maria, Florida
Ave Maria, Florida

Not wanting to be outdone by the Scientologists, Domino's Pizza founder Tom Monaghan is developing a Catholics-only enclave in Florida to accompany a new Catholic university. The town will look no different from the average ex-urban development: dendritic street system, cul-de-sacs, artificial lakes (in Hurricane-prone Florida?), and a town center partly inspired by New Urbanism (with a major dose of Salt Lake Temple Square; i.e., though a public space, your civil liberties will be curtailed).

There will be, of course, some major departures from the norm. Says Tom Monaghan:

We're going to control all the commercial real estate, so there's not going to be any pornography sold. We're controlling the cable system. The pharmacies are not going to be able to sell condoms or dispense contraceptives.

It's surveillance in the service of religious orthodoxy and as expressed in landscape form, a hybridization of Rome and Ground Zero that I'm quite giddy to see take shape. But even if Tom Monaghan's agenda does not come to fruition, as there are several legal issues that need to be addressed, there is that first implementation of the Rural Lands Stewardship Program to pique interest.

“An incentive-based system, Rural Stewardship allows a landowner to obtain credits for protecting lands proven to support natural resources and agriculture, then to utilize those credits in areas identified as suitable for development. Importantly, the number of credits earned is commensurate with the environmental significance of the land, so property owners are more highly rewarded for protecting more valuable lands.”

Ave Maria, Florida
Rural Lands Stewardship Program
  • Anonymous
  • September 30, 2005 at 12:11:00 PM CDT
  • Whoa!


  • Anonymous
  • February 20, 2006 at 1:34:00 PM CST
  • A kooky cult-town in Florida? Who'd have think it? Our mantra for the 21st century: Give me your freaks, your poor, your criminals, your molesters, your mass murderers, your bail jumpers, yearning to elude the authorities and remain free, the wretched refuse that are supposed to register as sex offenders. Send us MORE homeless and bible thumpers. I lift my beside the hurricane-ravaged gash in my side.

  • Unknown
  • July 23, 2007 at 4:00:00 PM CDT
  • Oh thank God for this! I want to live there! And believe me I'm not kooky or cultish. :) I'm Catholic and proud of it, and if there's a town out there that is promoting GOOD MORALS then wouldn't you want your kids raised there?! Wish it was cheaper however.

  • Anonymous
  • May 27, 2008 at 2:36:00 AM CDT
  • I've looked over several prominent news sites with stories on Ave Maria, and it's interesting. Most of them have what seems to be a dedicated person/group posting vitriol against the project. "Anonymous" here speaks for himself, but another poster on another site offers similar vitriol on how pizza is so unhealthy. One site had almost all of its posts(about ten) on the same day(!) and none referred to the local area in Florida, so I doubted they were even from the area. It seems almost coordinated. Anyway, it looks like it's going to succeed, and if so, it will be a victory for ALL groups based on specific moral codes to succeed. I don't know how ONE small town is so dangerous-don't worry, the residents will be bombarded with bad influences the minute they step foot outside their town. All religions should support Ave Maria, as Ave Maria is creating a precedent for them to flourish also.

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