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CA City Postpones Vote on Ordinance Banning Drones

CA City Postpones Vote on Ordinance Banning Drones

A California city council on Thursday delayed a vote on a first-of-its-kind ordinance that would ban drones up to 400 feet above all areas that have been zoned as residential. 

The Rancho Mirage city council will now vote on the ordinance on May 2. 

The proposed ordinance bans “unmanned aircraft that can fly under the control of a remote pilot or by a geographic positions system (GPS) guided autopilot mechanism.” In addition, a “drone permit” from the city and written permission from the owner would be needed if anyone needed to make recordings of “a single residence.” 

Steve Sonneville, a Rancho Mirage resident, was bothered by a remote control drone his neighbors were flying 50 feet above his home that kept buzzing. His neighbors realized they were being nuisances when Sonneville asked them to stop flying the drone.  He then e-mailed the city’s mayor Scott Hines, and soon after the proposed ordinance was written. 

Hines, the mayor, agreed that the privacy of residents cannot be invaded. 

“I think individuals should be able to use their own property and perhaps common areas of communities to enjoy the technology with their families. Where one crosses the line is by infringing on the privacy of others,” Hines said. “I think individuals should be able to use their own property and perhaps common areas of communities to enjoy the technology with their families. Where one crosses the line is by infringing on the privacy of others.”

Hines, who said he received a drone he could control with his iPad as a gift, said the ordinance would be modified to ensure residents are able to recreationally use remote control drones and aerial devices so long as they do not violate the privacy of their neighbors. 

The FAA, which controls airspace above 400 feet, is expected to come up with regulations allowing the use of commercials drones by 2015, and legal experts expect more cities will soon deal with such issues and proposed ordinances. 

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