Balloon business in works at Lake in the Hills airport

LAKE IN THE HILLS – A hot air balloon ride business plans to launch some operations at the village’s airport.

Sedona Sunset Ballooning plans to sign a three-year agreement with the village that would go into effect on Friday, pending approval from the Village Board.

“The presence of hot air balloons at the airport will have minimal impact on flight activity,” Public Works Director Fred Mullard wrote in a memo to Village Board members. “However, it is expected to draw more public interest given the size of the balloons.”

The company plans on offering a limited amount of operations at the airport, said airport manager Michael Peranich.

Sedona, an Elgin-based company, uses a mobile setup. A truck brings the hot air balloon and sets it up to launch. A chase vehicle then follows the balloon and meets the group where it lands.

Sedona plans to launch its occasional flight operations from a piece of grassy land off Pyott Road close to the entrance of the airport.

Peranich said the launches won’t be too far off the roadway, but will be far enough back so launches won’t interfere with automobile traffic. He added the launches will be outside of the runway safety area.

Being able to use the Lake in the Hills Airport as a launch point gives Sedona another location to meet customers, Peranich said.

Sedona also would have to give the airport 24 hours notice before launching a ride.

The village does plan to charge hot air balloon operators a fee based on the number of operations each plan to have during a year.

According to a proposed fee structure, 0-15 operations would cost $150 a year; if an operator has 16-30 flights planned, he would pay $400 a year. There would be a charge of $150 for each additional 10 operations.

Having a hot air balloon business using the airport helps promote the airport, Peranich said. People would notice the balloon launching from the airport and might become interested in checking out that business and the airport, Peranich added.

“It’s a win-win all around, we think,” Peranich said.

The Village Board is scheduled to vote on its agreement with Sedona and the proposed fees at its meeting on Thursday.

To attend

What: Lake in the Hills Village Board

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday

Where: Village Hall, 600 Harvest Gate

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