Down With The Drones In Mammoth Lakes

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The Sheet reports that drones are being restricted on Town of Mammoth Lakes land. The Town Council approved an ordinance at its Wednesday meeting to require a permit to fly a drone on Town owned land. 

An ordinance already exists requiring a permit for planes and model rockets on town owned land. The council simply amended that ordinace to include drones.

Previously, a person could launch a drone on any property that they own or on town owned property, like Mammoth Creek Park, without consequence. That person can then fly their drone throughout the airspace of the town, as that airspace is not owned by the town. This airspace is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and according to the FAA it is illegal to shoot down a drone or any aircraft in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States.

Read More: LAFD And DJI Collaborate To Advance Drone Technology For Public Safety Applications

Councilman John Wentworth had a couple of questions about the proposed ordinance: “Who is going to enforce this?”, “Has there been consultation with the Mammoth Lakes Ranger District of the United States Forest Service?”, “What happens when the drone flies over my house in my neighborhood?” 

Parks and Recreation Director Stu Brown answered the first two. The police department and the parks staff will enforce the permitting, and there has not been consultation with the Forest Service.

The third question was more complicated. The permit will only allow people to fly drones over town-owned land, which essentially means parks. It does not permit people to fly over federal land or neighborhoods, but it also doesn’t bar that behavior. The Forest Service defers to the FAA, so the passage of this ordinance would have no affect on drone use over federal land. People can still freely fly drones over Horseshoe Lake. 

Read More: The Rise Of The News Drone

As for neighborhoods, private land is not owned by the Town. Nothing in the ordinance prohibits people from flying drones over your house. A person can still legally launch a drone from their house and fly it over your house. 

Though you cannot shoot that drone out of the sky, Councilman Bill Sauser recommended that, “You could launch your own drone and take it out.”

Betsy Truax of the Recreation Commission said that the town’s primary concern is to regulate this activity in town parks. Continue reading about the Mammoth Lakes ordinance limits drone use.

Source: The Sheet



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