October 6, 2023[Spectrum News]- Belvedere Terminals CFO Tim Schwarz says a fuel terminal proposal that has caused pushback in Ormond Beach will actually be much smaller than originally described in an air construction permit.
In August, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection issued an air construction permit to Belvedere Terminals to construct a fuel terminal at 874 Hull Ave., near Ormond Beach. According to the permit, the plan was for the terminal to contain “a total of sixteen storage tanks.”
Belvedere Terminals CFO Tim Schwarz said the site will actually be significantly smaller.
“People (are) talking about sixteen tanks, 300 million barrels of storage — it’s not that big,” Schwarz said. “It’s three tanks and about 300,000 barrels of storage in a very contained, very safe location.”
Opponents say the fuel terminal is close to three residential areas, a local airport, and a major youth sports complex — which is host to hundreds of families every week. But Schwarz argues that the company has done its due diligence and “there’s no threat, no safety risk” to those locations.
Ormond Beach Mayor Bill Partington said he’s not convinced.
“I’d be suspicious that they’re taking it from a proposed 16 down to three,” he said. “They may be just saying that, I don’t know why, but I would certainly want to fact check that.”
One of the major community concerns about the terminal is safety, but Schwarz said the fuel terminal will be equipped with multiple fire suppression systems. He also said the company will work with local fire and emergency management departments so a plan is in place for any developments.
Another concern opponents of the project have brought up is lightning — which multiple studies have shown causes one third of fuel storage tank accidents.
“We haven’t chosen the exact vendor yet, but there are multiple new vendors that create lightning safety situations that allow us to protect the tanks from lightning strikes so that will mitigate that concern,” Schwarz said.
Schwarz said the terminal will bring dozens of jobs to the area and that the fuel distribution system will be a cleaner and lower cost way to bring fuel to the state. He said the system would also help keep fuel accessible during hurricanes.
Schwarz said the company has been speaking with residents about their concerns and is working with local leaders to discuss other potential locations for the site.
“We met with a couple representatives from both the county and the city, some local business people, and said, ‘If there were a site that met every single one of our criteria, and there’s a specific need that we have that makes it work, we would always entertain possibilities,’” Schwarz said. “No one has brought us anything that would be an alternative that works.”
Partington said he’s not heard from Belvedere Terminals at all so far.
“I’m not aware of any city officials they’ve met with,” he said. “I do know they met with county officials, but I don’t have any knowledge of city officials.”
Overall, Partington said the city will continue to fight the construction of the fuel terminal.
Meanwhile, Schwarz said Belvedere Terminals will continue to move forward on the project as planned, and expects the terminal to be operational by 2025.
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