Fuel terminal company speaks out after residents protest its Ormond Beach project

The City of Ormond Beach was "dead set" against a project that would locate large fuel storage tanks near the edge of the city, not far from homes and local businesses. Belvedere Terminals, the company behind the project, said they didn’t see any reason at this point why they couldn't start development.

"Notwithstanding what you've heard, it's smaller than people are talking about, it's contained. If you walked down the street, you wouldn't see it, you wouldn't know it was there," said Tim Schwarz, Belvedere Terminals’ CFO.

Schwarz said they’ve heard the concerns of Ormond Beach residents and officials. He said their plan to build several large fuel tanks in the city is safe and wouldn’t put the community at any risk.

"You're worried about something beyond our property," he said, "you're worried about something that would impact the homes or the sports complex, it wouldn't go beyond our property. We may have business damage or things we have to fix or worry about, but it's not going to create the things you're most concerned about."

Schwarz said they planned to install three 40-foot fuel tanks, storing about 300,000 barrels' worth of gasoline and diesel on-site. The plan was to send the fuel there and other Florida terminals by rail from the refineries on the Gulf Coast. "So you'll have storage tanks, trains will come in, unload into the tanks. Then we'll have truck racks, trucks will come in, pick up the product for last-mile delivery to the retail stations."

Schwarz said they had a permit from the Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection for the work. The City of Ormond Beach is pushing back, though. City officials said they would not issue Belvedere any permits for the project, and they wouldn’t grant them access to any city water, or other utilities.

"Our residents and the city are dead set against it," said Ormond Beach Mayor Bill Partington, "I don't see any opportunity for compromise. I think they need to find an appropriate location and go about the correct process to build a facility that will meet their needs, but I don't think it belongs in Volusia County or anywhere near Ormond Beach."

People living nearby who are against the project said it was dangerous, and they were glad the city was on their side. "We very much appreciate the city taking bold action, to take a stand basically, against Belvedere," said Elena Krafft, "they heard our concerns, and every single thing they could possibly do to stop them from coming to Ormond Beach it seems like they've done."

For their part, Volusia County said they hadn’t gotten all of Belvedere's paperwork yet to issue them any permits. Belvedere said if everything went according to their plan, the terminals could be built by the middle of 2025.