Petition against Ormond fuel site reaches 30,000 signatures
As of Monday afternoon, more than thirty thousand people had signed a petition to block the development of a proposed fuel terminal in Ormond Beach.
Ormond Lakes homeowner Elena Krafft, who started the petition, says Volusia County residents overwhelmingly support efforts to block the proposed development.
“I have yet to find one single person who is for the fuel farm in our community,” Krafft said. “Everybody that learns about it, the first thing they say is, ‘this is not the right place for it.”
The fuel terminal project proposed by Belvedere Terminals would sit at 874 Hull Road, directly across from the Ormond Beach Sports Complex, Krafft said.
"We have thousands of families, their children, utilizing this [sports complex] every year," Krafft said.
Additionally, Krafft says the senior citizens who live at nearby Bear Creek Village are "scared for their lives" if the fuel terminal project moves forward.
“Geographically speaking, they would literally be trapped in that area,” Krafft said. "If there was a train derailment, if there was any sort of catastrophic explosion, they would be the first ones in the crosshairs of this event."
In August, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection approved Belvedere's construction permit for the fuel site. But as of October 11, Volusia County still hadn’t received a development application for the proposed project, according to the county’s website.
Krafft says although the project site itself is zoned for “heavy industrial” use, its proximity to several nearby residential areas means the fuel site would be too close for comfort. And, she says, a new state law is discouraging local governments from trying to rezone the area.
Senate Bill 250, called “Natural Emergencies,” stops certain municipalities from making “more restrictive or burdensome” changes to their land development regulations, if those municipalities are located within 100 miles of where Hurricanes Ian or Nicole made landfall last year.
SB 250 also prohibits local governments from proposing or adopting “more restrictive or burdensome procedures” for processing site plans and development permits.
“[SB 250] has really, according to city and county officials, really hand-tied them and limited the ability to change the zoning,” Krafft said. “So, everybody’s trying to kind of stay away from changing the zoning to more burdensome, as they call it.”
The new state law also stops local governments from proposing or adopting any kind of moratorium, or ban, on construction, reconstruction or redevelopment of any property damaged by Hurricanes Ian or Nicole.
Although those severe storms of 2022 may have been the impetus for SB 250, Krafft says, in reality, the state law is interfering with local governments’ capacity for addressing other important community issues, like the proposed fuel terminal.
“When they [lawmakers] passed this, I'm sure they didn't think about all of these different scenarios that could happen,” Krafft said. “Obviously, the implications were all supposed to be for recovery efforts, and here we are with a massive fuel terminal at our doorsteps.”
WMFE asked Belvedere Terminals what their current plans are for the project and received the below written statement, which reads in full:
“We are still planning to move forward with our current plans in Ormond Beach and expect to be operational by mid 2025. We will continue to meet with all concerned parties to educate them on the safety and design of the facility.”