Greenwood Village In Colorado To Consider Drone Regulations

City Manager Says City Is ‘Not Trying To Be The Drone Police’

The City of Greenwood Village in Arapahoe County, CO is set to consider new drone regulations when its City Council next meets May 7.

The Denver Post reports that the ordinance would focus on drones weighing less than 55 pounds, which are largely used by hobbyists. It is not clear how the law would affect commercial operations, according to the report. It would preclude capturing still or video images of people that have a "reasonable expectation of privacy" using a drone, the launching or landing of a drone on private property without the property owner’s permission, and "harassing, annoying and alarming" animals using a drone. It would also outlaw the use of a drone to interfere with law enforcement operations.

Greenwood City Manager John Jackson said that the goal of the ordinance is to "preserve a high quality of life for all our citizens and public safety … but we’re not trying to be the drone police."

Drone attorney and Greenwood Village city councilman Tom Dougherty said that cities are trying to catch up with the technology, which is growing exponentially. He said the city is "trying to thread the needle" between citizen’s rights and the rights of those who operate drones.

The FAA determined in 2015 that “substantial air safety issues are raised when state or local governments attempt to regulate the operation or flight of aircraft,” according to an email sent to the paper. A "patchwork quilt" of local regulations "could severely limit the flexibility of FAA in controlling the airspace and flight patterns, and ensuring safety and an efficient air traffic flow,” the agency said.

However, the FAA acknowledges the rights of local jurisdictions to create regulations dealing with "land use, zoning, privacy and trespass," according to the report.

(Image from file)

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