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updated: 12/18/2013 2:11 PM

Naperville electric fee shouldn't delay indoor sky diving

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  • IFly is building an indoor sky-diving center in Naperville and hopes to open by April. The city council on Tuesday agreed to defer payment of electric infrastructure availability fees due from iFly and other developers seeking building permits until the fees can be reviewed.

      IFly is building an indoor sky-diving center in Naperville and hopes to open by April. The city council on Tuesday agreed to defer payment of electric infrastructure availability fees due from iFly and other developers seeking building permits until the fees can be reviewed.
    Courtesy of iFly

 
 

The indoor sky-diving facility coming to Naperville wants to be open in April, and a large electric infrastructure fee due to the city should not stand in the way.

The city council on Tuesday night voted to suspend collection of the electric infrastructure availability charge for the iFly indoor sky-diving center and all other pending building permits until the end of April 2014.

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The suspension period will give city staff members time to finish conducting a review begun this fall of fees for new developments to connect to city electric and water services.

The company asked to defer payment of its electric fees until after the review is complete in case any changes are made that will decrease the $309,807 amount the business has been told it owes.

Electric infrastructure availability charges are based on the projected electricity use for building permit applicants. The fees cover costs of constructing the transmission, substation and distribution facilities to bring power to each new development, according to a memo from Deputy City Manager Marcie Schatz.

New developments are charged $297.32 for every kilowatt hour of projected energy use. Schatz said the iFly indoor sky-diving center, which uses a specially designed fan system to push visitors up in a flight chamber as if they were truly falling through the sky, "requires significant electric demand."

Bill Adams, iFly CEO, said in a letter to the city the electric infrastructure availability charge has been cut from an original fee of $428,735, but it still could hold up development if not for the council's decision Tuesday night to defer its due date.

"We see this fee as grossly disproportionate to the size and nature of our business," Adams said in his letter. "We have never been assessed a fee of this nature in any other municipality."

The company is building a 10,200-square-foot flight center in the Freedom Commons development directly north of Cooper's Hawk Winery on Naperville's north side. It will be one of roughly 30 iFly locations across the world and the second indoor sky-diving facility in the area, set to open after a similar venue launches in Rosemont. Excavation is complete and crews have nearly finished the building's foundation, but iFly is awaiting a permit to begin building the 67-foot structure where adventure-seekers can get the thrill of sky diving without jumping out of a plane.

While payment of electric availability infrastructure charges is deferred, iFly and other developers will not have to pay the fees before being granted a building permit. They will, however, have to pay before obtaining a certificate of occupancy, city attorney Margo Ely said.

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