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Palm Bay to reconsider allowing hundreds of homes next to FAR Chemical after judge voids meeting

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A witness called 911 to report an explosion at a chemical plant in Palm Bay.

Wochit

Back in February, disregarding warnings of danger, the Palm Bay City Council voted 5-0 to rezone land bordering FAR Chemical’s industrial plant for construction of up to 699 homes and 190,000 square feet of commercial space.

On Sept. 8, FAR Chemical was rocked by a series of window-rattling explosions, sparking large fireballs and shutting down U.S. 1 as police and firefighters converged on the scene.

Nine days later, a Brevard County circuit judge invalidated the results of the February City Council meeting, ruling that Palm Bay officials had failed to comply with mandatory notice requirements.

Now, the City Council will re-hear the 22-acre multifamily housing-commercial construction proposal during a special meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

The FAR Chemical blasts originated from an industrial storage area containing 30 to 40 50-gallon barrels of an isopropyl alcohol-based solution, Palm Bay spokeswoman Keely Leggett said. No injuries were reported.

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More: Explosions, smoke from FAR Chemical plant rock Palm Bay

More: FAR Chemical warned Palm Bay officials of hazards months before last week’s explosions

“Nobody ever wants to see an accident happen. But it doesn’t matter how well-prepared you are: Accidents happen,” Joe Beatty, vice president and general manager of FAR Chemical, said Monday.

“I can’t imagine if there were 500 or 600 multifamily home units that close — and if they had already been built? God, it’d just be awful,” Beatty said.

The 22-acre adjacent property at Robert J. Conlan Boulevard and U.S. 1 is owned by MLEF2-1, LLC, a North Miami Beach development company.

The developer’s February 2019 conceptual plan on file at City Hall depicts five future four-story buildings containing 308 housing units with a 10,000-square-foot

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