Friday, May 18, 2007

Controversy heating up over hot air balloon company (5/17)

May 17, 2007

Endeavor Ballooning may be forced to relocate

A Botetourt business is afraid a recent ruling by the county will take the wind out of its sails, so to speak.

The board of supervisors told Endeavor Ballooning it was no longer allowed to land on the 900 acres that make up the Botetourt Center at Greenfield; a county-owned industrial and educational center. . . .

. . .For the last six years Endeavor Ballooning has operated out of Botetourt County with Colin Graham at the helm.

During that time, Graham says he's flown anywhere from 2,500 to 3,000 people. Most of the time, he lands in areas that have been approved by private landowners. Over the last six years, he estimates he's had to land about 40 times in Greenfield. Botetourt County considers those landings trespassing. . . .

. . . "Even though it's 900 acres of property, the balloon itself is not easily controlled and we were reluctant to place the public in danger by making a portion of Greenfield available," says Botetourt County Supervisor Steve Clinton. . . .

. . . Colin Graham does have other places to land within Botetourt County; but, with wind currents being unpredictable, he says he needs this as an option to stay in business. Graham says he may be forced to move his ballooning business to another county.

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