Ball in Belvedere's court: Citizens for Ormond Beach program updates residents on fuel terminal status

Dream Green Volusia and the Protect Volusia citizens group seek to keep community engaged in opposition of the project.

Catherine Pante, Dream Green Volusia founder Suzanne Scheiber and Elena Krafft speak during the Citizens for Ormond Beach meeting on Wednesday, April 10. Pante and Krafft both form part of the Protect Volusia Facebook group. Photo by Jarleene Almenas
Catherine Pante, Dream Green Volusia founder Suzanne Scheiber and Elena Krafft speak during the Citizens for Ormond Beach meeting on Wednesday, April 10. Pante and Krafft both form part of the Protect Volusia Facebook group. Photo by Jarleene Almenas
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A fuel farm. A lawsuit. A failed moratorium vote. A site plan in the works. Residents ask, now what?

On Feb. 13, Belvedere Terminals submitted a new concept plan for its proposed fuel terminal development at 874 Hull Road, an unincorporated area of the county near the city of Ormond Beach. Planning staff from Volusia County responded two weeks later with a 20-page document outlining concerns and questions they felt needed to be addressed prior to the site plan moving forward. To date, Belvedere Terminals has not responded.

Then, on March 15, five residents —representing Dream Green Volusia, Bear Creek Village and the Protect Volusia Facebook group — met with three county staff members to inquire about what the process will look like for Belvedere Terminals, and to voice concerns about the fuel terminal.

On Wednesday, April 10, three of those residents reported the results of that meeting during Citizens for Ormond Beach’s program at the library. The underlying message? It’s time to wait and see.

“The next step is really for Belvedere, the ball is in their court right now,” said Ormond Beach resident Elena Krafft, of Protect Volusia. “They have as long as they would like to have to respond back to those questions. So it could be a week, or it could be 10 years, according to the county — we have no clue whatsoever. That just makes it very frustrating for us to be in this limbo right now.”

What the county process looks like

The updated concept plan submitted by Belvedere Terminals in February showed six proposed 40-foot-tall fuel tanks. The company began its pursuit to construct a fuel terminal at 874 Hull Road last summer, with initial reports stating the St. Petersburg-based company planned to build 16 storage tanks on the property. Residents, local officials and community business leaders have been opposing the project since late August 2023, citing safety, environmental and quality of life concerns.

In September 2023, Belvedere Terminals announced it planned to invest $750 million in the state by construction 10 fuel terminals within the next five years; the first identified sites being in Jacksonville, Ft. Pierce and Ormond Beach. The company states that having fuel terminals in Florida will lower gas prices for consumers and offer a safer and dependable method for getting fuel into the state during storms.

One of the main issues pointed out by county staff regarding Belvedere Terminal’s concept plan is development within a portion of the 874 Hull Road property that is currently zoned A-2 “Rural Agriculture.” County staff said in a letter to the company that Belvedere must either remove the industrial development on that portion of the property, or, rezone it to I-2 “Heavy Industrial.”

The city of Ormond Beach also responded to the conceptual plan submittal, reaffirming that the city — in its opposition to the construction of the fuel terminal — will not provide utilities, and asked for additional data to demonstrate that the proposed well by Belvedere Terminals will meet the required fire protection standards. It also questioned if the project can be built with a split zoning of I-2 and A-2.

The Observer reached out to Belvedere Terminals and inquired about future updates to its conceptual site plan, and a statement received by Chief Operating Officer Mike Benedetto did not outline a timeline for the company's response to the city or county.

“We continue to work closely with the county and other community leaders but we have no announcement at this time," Benedetto said.

If and when Belvedere Terminals respond, and the plan is approved to move forward, the next step would be a review by the county’s technical review committee. It would then progress to the Developmental Review Committee, who would approve or deny the project. An appeal could then be filed by a “affected person.”

“We have still not received the definition of an affected person since March 15,” Dream Green Volusia founder Suzanne Scheiber said.

An appeal would then go before the Volusia County Council for review.

A workshop on zoning districts

On Tuesday, April 30, at 3 p.m., the Volusia County Council hold a workshop to discuss zoning code. Scheiber, Krafft and Daytona Beach resident Catherine Pante, who also spoke at the CFOB meeting, encouraged residents to attend the workshop.

Why is this workshop significant?

In December 2023, when the county initially refused to process Belvedere Terminals concept plan — which led to a lawsuit in January — the county did so based on direction from the County Council to place a pending moratorium as it reviewed uses in the I-2 zoning district. Though the council voted 5-2 to shoot down the moratorium in February, allowing the processing of Belvedere Terminals’ plan, the issue of the I-2 being a “catch-all” designation for all industrial uses remained.

The group of residents who met with county staff in March were alerted to the April 30 workshop.

“I think that’s really where they’re going to discuss this heavy industrial district zoning ad all the allowable uses,” Krafft said.

Volusia County Council Chair Jeff Brower, who attended CFOB’s meeting, confirmed the workshop was going to take place.

“We need to end this ‘catch-all’ phrase,” Brower said. “We need to change just one sentence, a couple words, so that anything for heavy industrial must go before the County Council and be approved by a special exception. That still doesn’t guarantee you it’s not going to happen, but it gives you a voice in your government.”

Brower also criticized the failure of the moratorium. Only he and District 4 County Councilman Troy Kent — who represents Ormond Beach and Ormond-by-the-Sea — voted in favor of it.

“Almost every one of you in this room I have seen in County Council meetings and you’re pushing, you’re doing your job,” Brower said. “The moratorium should have passed just based on your effort.”

State allocation for relocation?

Brower said county staff reported it expects the fuel terminal — regardless of the site plan review process — to go before the County Council again in the future.

Volusia County is waiting to see if it will receive a $10 million allocation from the state budget for infrastructure. Brower said county staff told him those were funds that could be used to relocate the fuel terminal.

“If it came down to the council voting to give them $10 million to move — not to improve Harmony [Avenue] or any of the roads around there — but to move to another location, would you vote for it?” Brower asked the attendees of the CFOB meeting. They clapped in response.

The county, Brower reported, offered two alternate locations to Belvedere Terminals for the construction of the fuel farm: One in Flagler County, near a junkyard, and a one in Oak Hill, on the border of the Canaveral National Seashore.

Brower said he expects Belvedere Terminals is waiting on the governor to sign the budget to proceed with its fuel farm project.

“Once he signs that, and Belvedere knows that the money is really there, then they will suddenly get serious about looking for another location,” Brower said.

What's next?

As residents wait, Dream Green Volusia and Protect Volusia are asking they submit letters of opposition to them as the groups plan to compile them and submit them altogether to the County Council.

“We’ve been trying to figure out a way to keep the community engaged, because a lot of people have just gone back to living their lives and they’re not really engaged,” Scheiber said. “They don’t really know what’s going on.”

Dream Green Volusia will have a booth at the city of Ormond Beach’s Earth Day celebration at the Environmental Discovery Center, to be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 20.

Letters can also be sent to [email protected].


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