DeLand leaders to explore having 2 sky-dive firms

DeLand leaders to explore having 2 sky-dive firms
By KELLY CUCULIANSKY, Staff Writer
January 1, 2011 12:05 AM

DELAND — City leaders are scheduled to talk Monday night about how to accommodate two sky-diving businesses at the DeLand Municipal Airport.
The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in City Hall, 120 S. Florida Ave.
Joseph Richards, who has multiple partners in Blue Sky Entertainment, has an option to sublet a hangar owned by a local businessman, but it would be up to the City Commission to approve the sublease because DeLand owns the property.

This is the first time city leaders have explored the idea of two sky-diving companies at the facility. While there’s nothing in city or federal rules that prevents multiple parachute businesses at the airport, city leaders are worried about how the two companies can safely coexist.
According to a city staff report, commissioners have a few options to choose from at their meeting Monday.

They may:
· Postpone their decision in hopes of having Blue Sky Entertainment and Skydive DeLand work out an operating agreement. However, according to city staff, it seems unlikely the companies will provide objective and timely suggestions.
· Pursue a study by an airport consultant. Informal comments from the consultant, however, haven’t provided significant guidance because of the unique nature of the sky-diving operations and the lack of other airports for comparison. There may only be two airports in the country with multiple sky-dive operators.
· Approve the sublease agreement based on operating protocols proposed by the new sky-diving company. According to a city staff report, the proposal doesn’t satisfy DeLand’s safety concerns.
· Encourage the companies to go to mediation to develop voluntary operating protocols that satisfy the city’s concerns and can be reasonably enforced by city resources. Mediation would be at the city’s expense.

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