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Fight over a controversial fuel terminal in Volusia County takes a turn

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — The fight over a controversial fuel terminal took another twist Tuesday with Volusia County backing away from a proposed moratorium.

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The move comes after months of public opposition and back and forth between Belvedere Terminals and the county.

Councilors against the moratorium said they wanted to try and find common ground with Belvedere and see the site plan application before making any more decisions. Meanwhile, those for said the county needed the extra nine months to research strategies to ultimately stop the terminal from being built.

The five to two vote to reject the moratorium means the terminal site plan will now have to be processed. The moratorium passed an initial vote in November but many councilors had a change of heart Tuesday.

“The site plan gives us the opportunity to be in the driver’s seat and not put the taxpayers of Volusia County in mutli-million dollars liability because of the way it’s going down,” said Councilor David Santiago.

County Chair Jeff Brower was one of two who voted in favor of the moratorium.

“I think the fear of the lawsuit very much had something to do with it and I think that is a real shame. What is more important, the county’s money that is taxpayer money? Or the taxpayer’s money and people’s lives?” said Brower.

Representatives for Belvedere declined to comment on camera but did offer some input to the council before the vote.

“We would have the opportunity in a quasi-judicial context to cross examine witnesses to ask questions of each other, present expert opinions, evidence that could sway the council’s vote based on evidence,” said the attorney.

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