Lawsuit Filed Against Volusia County Over Fuel Farm Proposal Sparks Tensions with Residents in Ormond Beach

Volusia County, Florida – Belvedere Terminals, a company seeking to establish a fuel farm in the Ormond Beach area, has recently filed a lawsuit against Volusia County. The lawsuit, filed this week, accuses the county council of infringing upon Belvedere’s property rights. Local resident Elena Krafft has been actively opposing the construction of the fuel farm for several months. Upon learning that the facility would be situated just half a mile from her home, she began alerting her neighbors and participating in meetings to voice her concerns.

Krafft expressed her worries by stating, “When I realized that 20 million gallons of fuel would be stored just steps away from where my kids play soccer, I knew I had to speak up” (no direct quotes). In response to the uproar, the Volusia County Council voted to enact a nine-month development moratorium on heavy industrial zoning areas, including the proposed site of Belvedere Terminal’s 60-acre fuel farm at 874 Hull Road.

Belvedere Terminals maintains that, because the moratorium has not yet been officially adopted, their application should still be processed. The company argues that during a pre-application meeting, the county assured them that their plans complied with existing zoning laws. Belvedere’s Chief Financial Officer, Tim Schwarz, emphasized their commitment to the safety of Ormond Beach residents. He stated, “We are willing to invest millions of dollars to implement the most advanced system and ensure safety and environmental friendliness” (no direct quotes).

Krafft, however, remains skeptical of Belvedere’s promises. She believes that accidents and explosions are not uncommon in such facilities, often resulting from natural events like hurricanes and lightning strikes (no direct quotes). The final hearing and vote to officially establish the moratorium is scheduled for February 6. If approved, the moratorium will be in effect for the next nine months, with the council having the option to terminate it earlier.

Volusia County has acknowledged the lawsuit filed by Belvedere. When contacted for comment, the county issued the following statement: “We are aware of the lawsuit and are currently reviewing the complaint. We have no further comments at this time” (no direct quotes).

In summary, Belvedere Terminals has taken legal action against Volusia County, claiming their property rights have been violated. Despite opposition from residents like Elena Krafft, the county council has voted to implement a nine-month development moratorium, potentially impacting Belvedere’s plan to construct a fuel farm. The final decision on the moratorium will be made in early February.