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Parks board restricts drone usage in CC

Parks board restricts drone usage in CC

Privacy, safety among main concerns with passing motion

A new drone policy may help ward off crowd and privacy problems in the near future –– or at least it’s a step in the right direction, the Charles City Parks and Recreation Board decided Wednesday night.

The board approved a motion that prohibits drone operation on city park property while the location is occupied by others. The measure is intended to protect privacy or safety in crowd locations, such as the public pool or a Party in the Park event, said Director Steve Lindaman.

“A lot of the space that we have publicly, I think we have to look at the vertical space above it,” Lindaman said. “I can see some things going on when you have a lot of operators out there who may not be experienced, all of the sudden you have a big crowd in Central Park you’re flying over….they lose control and it drops into a crowd. “I think we have to be looking at protecting the people in the public areas.” Drone pilots must seek permission from the Parks and Recreation Director for promotional or other event usage. The policy isn’t perfect, Lindaman said, but the measure will get a discussion moving for the city council.

“It’s not illegal, but it’s a policy and we can somewhat enforce it that way,” Lindaman said. “We want to look at it as a policy. Whether at this point it can be enforced by law enforcement, it probably can’t.

“There’s going to be a lot of Christmas presents that are going to be drones, and a lot of inexperienced (pilots).”

Drone sales have grown to be national news as Christmas approaches, with consumers expected to purchase about 400,000 drones, CNN Money reports.

The FAA has released mandatory registration requirements, opening Dec. 21, for all drone owners in hopes of making it easier to trace owners after a crash or incident involving authorities. Drones must be registered within 60 days of purchase and will remain registered for three years.

A $5 registration fee will cover multiple drones for one owner.

By Kate Hayden [email protected]

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