The use of drones and similar devices in Loch Arbour will be limited and controlled under an ordinance introduced at the Board of Commissioner’s July 6 meeting.
The ordinance, which will have a public hearing on Aug. 3, regulates the use of drones or other unmanned aircraft within the boundaries of the village.
Deputy Mayor Al Cheswick said the ordinance is being considered after a resident suggested several months ago that the village be pro-active on the issue.
“As far as I know we have not had problems or complaints with drones but we are trying to address any potential problems in the future. Usually when a resident makes a request we look into it but this ordinance may be too much right now,” he said. “It seems to be a lot of effort to solve a potential problem in the future and I think enforcement may be a problem. How do you catch someone using a drone?”
Cheswick said he will wait to hear what residents have to say about the ordinance at the Aug. 3 meeting.
“I will listen to what people have to say but I am leaning against adopting the ordinance right now. I don’t see a reason to put another law on the books,” he said.
Cheswick said he believes, however,there are other communities in the state that have adopted similar ordinances.
According to the ordinance, drones can fly at altitudes below the navigable airspace (generally 400 feet), are equipped with surveillance technologies, and are increasingly available to private citizens for personal, recreational, and other potential uses.
They can “fly above roads and through traffic in a manner that is inherently dangerous to the public health. They pose a serious threat to the health, safety, and welfare of the village’s inhabitants, seasonal population, and visitors in general, as well as the economic activity and public safety of the village and the region,” the ordinance said.
Under the ordinance, one cannot operate an unmanned aircraft in a manner that is prohibited by federal or other laws or operate one within 50 feet of a public right of way.
“No person shall operate an unmanned aircraft in a manner that interferes with a law enforcement, firefighter or emergency services operation…or in a careless or reckless manner that poses an apparent or actual threat of harm, or actual harm to persons or property,” it said.
Drones could not be operated over any private property located within Loch Arbour
“in which the resident and/or owner of the subject real property has a reasonable expectation of privacy (including, but not limited to, a private residence or office, and its surrounding yard, parking lot and landscaping).”
The maximum liability fines for violating the ordinance is $100,000 for personal injury or death of one person; $300,000 for personal injury or death to more than one person in one accident, with a maximum of $100,000 for each person; and $50,000 for property damage.