Weekly Feature

2017-11-09 / Local News

Public hearing for new drone law set for Nov. 15 meeting


Residents will have an opportunity to share their thoughts on the town’s proposed new drone law, after the rescinding of the previous ordinance, when a public hearing is held during the next Town Board meeting.

At the Nov. 1 meeting, a public hearing was held to rescind the previous local law on drones. That law, enacted in 2015, prohibited the flight of drones in a 1-mile radius of an open-air event in town that would have an attendance of more than 200 people. There were also regulations monitoring the flight of drones around the area of New Era Field when events are held at the stadium.

Upon finding out that the Federal Aviation Administration was the only entity with jurisdiction regarding airspace, the town evaluated its options, and after a recent teleconference with FAA officials, began working on a local law to monitor the takeoff and landing of drones, over which the town would have jurisdiction.

The proposed code says it would be unlawful for a drone to take off or land in a 1-mile radius two hours before or after a major open-air event in town. This would apply to the events in town that draw significant crowds and would no longer apply to smaller events where drone usage was prohibited under the previous code.

Regulations are also included for games and concerts at New Era Field. The proposed law says it would be unlawful to take off or land a drone within 2 miles of the stadium four hours prior to or after an event.

“The new code has the same motivation and intention [of the old code]: to secure the safety of people at large gatherings,” said Councilman Michael Sherry about the proposed filing. “The intent here is to be able to provide local law enforcement with a tool, whereby they can take some preventative action … and they can bring that conduct to a stop.”

The public hearing on the proposed drone law will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday Nov. 15, in Town Hall, 4295 S. Buffalo St., Orchard Park.

email: cgraham@beenews.com

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