When it comes to the unincorporated land in Volusia County at and near 874 Hull Road — where Belvedere Terminals is proposing a 16-tank fuel farm — Volusia County Council Chair Jeff Brower said he’d like to see a zoning change.
With the number of residential communities surrounding the property, and its proximity to the Ormond Beach Sports Complex, Brower said that area no longer suits a project like a fuel terminal.
“That’s why we have zoning,” he said. “Things change over time and that neighborhood has changed over time, and those people deserve to be protected.”
But the county’s legal department states that’s not possible, Brower said during his closing comments at a Tuesday, Sept. 5, council meeting.
Why? Because of a bill signed by the governor on June 28. Senate Bill 250, which disallows counties and municipalities from prohibiting temporary shelters on residential properties due to natural disasters, also bans local governments located within 100 miles of anywhere Hurricane Ian or Nicole made landfall from proposing or adopting “more restrictive or burdensome amendments to its comprehensive plan or land development regulations.” The bill also prohibits local governments from proposing or adopting “more restrictive or burdensome procedures concerning review, approval, or issuance of a site plan, development permit or development order” before Oct. 1, 2024.
That includes zoning amendments, according to county staff.
However, County Manager George Recktenwald said he will be meeting with the Florida East Coast Railway, which owns the land at 874 Hull Road, later this week to talk about options regarding the fuel terminal proposal by Belvedere Terminals, The fuel farm would be part of a $250 million multi-site fuel distribution system with more spur locations planned across the state.
Councilman Jake Johansson said he wished the county and the city of Ormond Beach collaborated on the issue prior to it escalating.
“I’m not saying we’re not [collaborating], but that was one where a lot of phone calls should have been made instead of emails and social media blasts,” Johansson said.
The Volusia League of Cities will be hosting a Volusia County Delegation Roundtable event in South Daytona on Sept. 12 to discuss the upcoming legislative session. Elected officials were granted the opportunity to ask questions to the delegation, and Councilman Matt Reinhart said he submitted one regarding getting help on relocating the fuel farm project.
Councilmen David Santiago and Don Dempsey said the councilmen need to be cautious about the comments they make regarding the fuel farm.
“We just have to be careful and strategic and make sure that nobody’s rights are violated in this process, because it could be a big cost to everyone,” Santiago said.
Brower disagreed, saying the public needs to know what is going on with the fuel farm.
“We have thousands of people that live around there that have property rights, that are concerned that their rights and their property values and their public safety is is in jeopardy and I think they’re right,” he said.
Dempsey said the council should be careful about going on a “witch hunt” against fuel farms in general, and focus on the fact the location for this proposed project is dangerous.
“My concern is not that there’s a fuel farm going there — because it’s a permitted use — It’s the fact that it’s located near an airport, which could be an inherent risk in the plane crashing into a fuel farm,” he said.
ReGrow the Loop workshop coming
Volusia County will host a free workshop where speakers will share landscape design techniques to attract wildlife, pollinators and birds on Saturday, Sept. 9.
The workshop, to be held from 9:30-10:30 a.m., is sponsored by the county’s ReGrow the Loop initiative, a one-year pilot program launched in June to enhance the 30-mile Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail in Ormond Beach.
This workshop is the fourth to be held since the beginning of the initiative, made possible through a partnership with the UF/IFAS Extension Volusia County and other local organizations to eradicate invasive plant species, increase native vegetation, attract more wildlife and pollinators and share information about sustainable practices.
Residents who live along the loop — and anywhere in Volusia County — can get involved by signing a pledge, attending a workshop, and organizing or participating in a Loop volunteer event.
Registration is required. Visit https://tinyurl.com/regrowtheloop.
To learn more about the initiative, visit volusia.org.
Troy Kent to host meeting Sept. 18
Volusia County Councilman Troy Kent, who represents District 4, will host a community meeting from 5-6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 18, at Holly Hill City Hall, located at 1065 S. Ridgewood Ave.
The city of Ormond Beach and Ormond-by-the-Sea are part of District 4. This meeting is part of Kent’s quarterly “Distrit Dialogue 4 Residents” series, according to a press release. Residents can ask questions and voice concerns.
Register for the senior games
The Ormond Beach Senior Games are in their 39th year, and registration is now open through Saturday, Sept. 30.
Open to athletes ages 50 and over, the Senior Games consist of a weeklong series of competitions, according to a city notice.
This year’s opening ceremony will be held at noon on Friday, Oct. 20. The games will run from Oct. 21-28.