ORMOND BEACH, Fla. — Dozens of Ormond Beach residents are preparing to attend Wednesday night’s special Volusia County council meeting on a proposed fuel terminal.

What You Need To Know

  • An air construction permit was issued to Belvedere Terminals to construct a 20 million gallon tank farm in Ormond Beach

  • The proposed terminal site is near an airport, business parks, a youth sports complex and three residential communities

  • Residents are concerned about safety, traffic, health and environmental issues stemming from the terminal

  • The Volusia County Council meeting is tomorrow night at 5:30 pm at the Thomas C. Kelly Administration Center in DeLand

On Aug. 1, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection issued a final air construction permit to Belvedere Terminals Company, LLC. According to the permit, the Ormond Beach Terminal will contain 16 storage tanks, holding 20.4 million gallons of fuel. Six of the tanks are set to be 40 feet tall.

The company is also planning fuel terminal sites in Jacksonville and Ft. Pierce as part of a multi-site fuel distribution system. The company said the system will “offer Floridians safer, lower cost and more reliable delivery of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.”

Last week, hundreds of residents took to the Ormond Beach City Commission meeting to speak in opposition of the fuel terminal. They raised safety, traffic, health and environmental concerns. Ultimately, the Ormond Beach City Commission unanimously voted to appeal the terminal’s construction permit issued by FDEP.

Residents are hoping for a similar outcome at the special Volusia County council meeting Wednesday. The council agreed to hold the meeting to gain more information about the fuel terminal before making a decision about whether or not they also plan to appeal the FDEP construction permit.

One Ormond Beach neighborhood is particularly concerned about the terminal’s location. Bear Creek Village is a retirement community located less than a mile from the proposed site. More than 1,300 people live in the community.

For Bear Creek resident Gary Biermann, the site’s proximity to his neighborhood is alarming.

“It’s just not a safe place,” Biermann said. “It’s far too close to residential areas for it to be put here. It makes no sense to me.”

Biermann said the site is also close to the Ormond Beach Municipal Airport, two other residential communities, multiple business parks and the Ormond Beach Sports Complex.

Before retiring, Biermann worked as a manager of site security and safety for Lockheed Martin. He managed a team that conducted site assessments for refineries, ports and fuel tank farms. His insight gives him pause about the tank farm now being proposed near his home.

“You typically want to build these far away from any critical infrastructure and any people because they’re dangerous,” Biermann said.

Biermann hopes their voices will be heard.

“It’s going to be a bus load of people coming from Bear Creek and a whole bunch of car loads full,” he said. “They’ll get to hear from us directly about what our concerns are and we hope to be heard.”

More than 50 Bear Creek residents are already set to attend the meeting — which is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. The meeting will be held in the County Council Chambers located on the second floor of the Thomas C. Kelly Administration Center at 123 W. Indiana Ave. in DeLand. Officials said the public is welcome to attend and the meeting will be live-streamed.

In a previous statement to Spectrum News 13, Belvedere Terminals COO Mike Benedetto said:

“The safety and wellbeing of Ormond Beach residents is our top concern. We are still in the early stages of planning, and we will work with City and State officials — since they maintain public roads — to make any needed improvements around our proposed facility. Additionally, we are already under contract with one of the top fire safety firms in the country and they are designing this facility to meet or exceed all requirements from the American Petroleum Institute and National Fire Protection Association. We never want there to be any danger to our employees on the facility or anyone outside of it, and in the unlikely event that there is an emergency, we will be fully prepared.”