ORMOND BEACH, Fla. — Ormond Beach residents are continuing their fight against a proposed fuel terminal. Concerned locals are preparing to press the Volusia County Council about the terminal at Tuesday morning’s county meeting.

What You Need To Know

In early August, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection issued a final air construction permit to Belvedere Terminals to construct a large fuel terminal at 874 Hull Road near Ormond Beach. If constructed, the terminal would contain 16 storage tanks, holding 20.4 million gallons of fuel, according to the permit.

Since then, residents and local lawmakers have pushed back against the terminal’s proposed location, which is near three residential areas that includes the Ormond Beach Municipal Airport and the Ormond Beach Sports Complex, which is a major youth sports center that hosts hundreds of families every week. 

Two weeks ago, the Ormond Beach City Commission voted to deny utilities to the proposed site

Last month, the Volusia County Council held a special meeting regarding the fuel terminal. They unanimously passed a motion to accomplish the following things:

  • Meet with state and federal officials and property owners to discuss the project

  • Have staff investigate the public notice process

  • Have the county legal department research case law on similar issues and how they were dealt with

  • Have staff research if there are any other lands that could be suitable fuel terminal sites instead of Hull Road

In Tuesday's meeting, Ormond Beach residents expect to hear updates from the county about finding another location for the fuel terminal. Dozens of residents are set to attend the meeting and speak in opposition to the terminal's construction. Residents have also been coming together to oppose the terminal through signs, social media and a petition. 

When Ormond Beach resident Elena Krafft first heard about the fuel terminal, she felt compelled to take action. She started by creating a petition opposing the terminal, which has now garnered over 26,000 signatures. Krafft, who has a Ph.D. in public health, said she wanted the community to feel empowered to take a stand against the terminal. 

“My greatest passion is community involvement and outreach,” Krafft said. “And I realized that people needed a voice, people needed to feel empowered to participate.” 

After starting the petition, Krafft and other Ormond Beach residents joined together to organize efforts against the fuel terminal. Together, the team leads a 3,000 member Facebook group of residents opposing the terminal. Most recently, they started a website to help share information and resources about the terminal. In just a week, the site received over 1,200 visitors.

“This has shown us that there's such a need for clear information for a way to just accumulate all of these resources and give people direction,” Krafft said.

Krafft and her team also created and distributed nearly 200 signs opposing the terminal to residents and businesses all over Ormond Beach — even getting the city’s permission to add signs to the Ormond Beach Sports Complex.

In the past two months, the group also handed out flyers and spread the word about the terminal to dozens of businesses and residents across Ormond Beach.

“As soon as I heard about it, I immediately had to take action,” group member Jody Gibian-Miles said. “The next day, I went to walk the pier under the Coronado Bridge. I went to like 31 businesses in town… anybody that was open I went to, because we needed to let everybody know that this is not a good thing for them, or Volusia County.”

Tuesday morning, the group is speaking at the county meeting, where they hope to hear updates from the council on finding a new location for the terminal or even rezoning the area. They also hope to keep working with local and statewide lawmakers to oppose the terminal.

“Currently, our next steps are continuing to write our government representatives and allowing them to hear our voices and understand where we're coming from,” group member Lindsey Pate said. “Continuing to share the facts, asking questions about what we can do next.”

No matter the outcome of the meeting, Krafft said she is sure the Ormond Beach community will be able to stop the terminal from being constructed at 874 Hull Road. 

“Overall, I have no doubt that the people of Ormond Beach will stop this,” Krafft said. “We can look at this as one of the biggest victories that we’ve witnessed in recent history, so I’m excited.”

Krafft said it’s been amazing to see the community come together as a united front and that she is hopeful for what they will accomplish. 

The meeting is at 9 a.m. and it 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. The public is welcome to attend and the meeting will be live-streamed.

In a new statement made Monday to Spectrum News 13, Belvedere Terminals COO Mike Benedetto said, "We are reviewing the petition."

This comes after a comment made in August, in which 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.”

Reagan Ryan is a 2023 — 2024 Report for America Corps Member, covering the environment and climate across Central Florida for Spectrum News 13. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues.