Land Use

Regulating the flying of drones is becoming a topic of interest and concern for municipalities. Municipalities around the country are beginning to enact laws regulating the flying of drones. These regulations are effective below the navigable air space, that is, below 400 feet above ground level. The navigable air space above 400 feet is under the jurisdiction, regulation and control of the Federal Aviation Administration.

The Wall Street Journal and other publications have recently printed various articles discussing the potential uses of drones and the various issues associated with those uses. The most well-known proposal for the use of drones on a commercial basis is the proposal by Amazon to utilize drones to make deliveries of goods directly to the consumer.

In New York, legislation has been proposed in the State Legislature regulating the uses of drones, but this proposed legislation does not preempt local municipalities from their own enactments. Likewise, legislation has been proposed in New York City.

Laws with respect to regulating drones deal with issues such as protection of privacy, safety in the operation of drones, regulating places where drones can land and locations from which drones can take off, the use of drones by law enforcement agencies, the use of drones as part of criminal endeavors and the use of drones for commercial advertising purposes.

This is obviously a new area of municipal concern but one which will become increasingly important in order to protect the health, safety, welfare and privacy of all citizens.

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