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St. Boni MN says no to drones

Discussion in 'News' started by neveradayoff, Mar 26, 2014.

  1. neveradayoff

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    This is a neighboring city, and my town often follows them in regulations. This is from the Star Tribune newspaper.

    Worried that its citizens might be spied upon by eyes in the sky, a Twin Cities-area community has become one of the nation’s first cities to stand up against drones.
    St. Bonifacius, population 2,300, which covers a mere square mile, recently banned the use of aerial drones in its airspace, largely because of concerns about citizen privacy.
    So they voted to ban drones from city airspace up to 400 feet; higher altitudes are managed by federal authorities. They made exceptions for emergencies and search warrants, and for individuals flying drones over their own property. Violation of the ordinance is a misdemeanor.
    The city also called for a two-year statewide moratorium on drones until the public can weigh in on how the technology will be used, and whether its images and other data can be used as evidence in court.

    read the rest of the article at:
    http://www.startribune.com/local/west/201723501.html

    political cartoon about this:
    http://media.cagle.com/95/2013/03/21/129080_600.jpg
     
  2. OI Photography

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    Can't wait till this one gets challenged in court :cool:

    Did they also approve setting their own speed limit on the interstate?
     
  3. Big Ben

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    Has anyone asked them based on what do they think they have the authority to issue such a ban?
     
  4. Visioneer

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    The obvious solution is to fly above your own property to over 400' and then fly wherever you like ... the FAA presently has no enforceable laws there.

    Seriously, this exactly how most smaller jurisdictions operate. Unless a Federal or State law specifically precludes some local ordinance (and sometimes even if it does), they pass whatever they want and then go about enforcing it until someone with the resources to challenge them in court comes along. I don't know anything about St. Boni but my guess is it's unlikely there's someone there who will expend the resources to challenge the law unless some outside backer (individual or organization) comes along to help.
     
  5. neveradayoff

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    So is there anyway they wouldn't have the authority to do this?
    I do not know what kind of power a city council has, obviously they think they have the power to do this. I think they would be able to. Just like they can put in a noise ordinance or hour the park shelter is open. I don't like it at all though. I cant wait to see what the actual ordinance says.

    I get a kick out of the paper statement
    "Unlike large military drones outfitted with weapons and high-altitude cameras, ordinary drones are remote-controlled flying vehicles that can be the size of a basketball and cost $25,000 or less." -Star Tibune
     
  6. neveradayoff

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    My sons play soccer in St. Boni and I looked forward to recording a game with my P2. I guess that will not be possible now. I can understand banning cameras on the craft but why ban the craft? Like I stated before, I cant wait to see the actual ordinance and see if it ends up banning all drones (RC controlled craft) out side of your own property like the article suggests. What if I tie a tether to the P2?
     
  7. Big Ben

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    Would they be able to decree everyone should hop on one leg in the high street on even days of the month when the temperature is below 10 C? Shouldn't they be asked what they think would give them the authority to do so?

    Same applies here imho. Accountability should be the rule.
     
  8. Visioneer

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    A city government course I took some years back indicated there is basis in Federal law for States & Counties (Parishes in LA) to exist. Not so for cities. The authority (and even existence) of cities is whatever their state legislature has granted them (often varies by city size).

    The problem with a straight answer to your question is that there are a variety of regulations, court cases, etc. that may come into play; and no one, definitive, federal (meaning pre-empting all others) law that fully addresses the issue.

    Here are some of the factors I've seen. There's a long standing notion that a property owner owns the surface of his property as well as everything beneath it to the earth's core and everything above it to the sky. That notion was basically over ridden by the advent of manned flight. The FAA was given jurisdiction over the NSA (National Shared Airspace) as a means to assure it's used for the public good - that's why you can't stop (or charge) commercial airlines that fly over your property (of course there are lots of rules they must follow to do so). From that vantage point the FAA has been known to claim jurisdiction from the ground up. However, although a property owner's "to the sky" rights have been taken, a property owner retains the right to whatever airspace above his property he can reasonably make beneficial use of (whatever that means - probably more work for the courts on a case by case basis). The 400' foot threshold you see bandied about is a red herring. It doesn't exist anywhere as a law. It's in an FAA advisory and in the AMA Safety Code regards model aircraft ... nothing else.

    So where that seems to leave us is that the airspace over private property belongs to the property owner to whatever height he can make beneficial use of, and jurisdiction above that belongs to the FAA (even though they may not yet have issued regulations governing it). The "authority" issues for a city therefore become: 1) what restrictions, if any, can they put on an owner's airspace above private property, and 2) they likely have no authority over airspace in the jurisdiction of the FAA. In the case of St. Boni they've more or less arbitrarily assigned 400' as the limit of a property owner's airspace and assumed the FAA covers everything above that.

    Cities may have a lot of authority over what you can do on your property (think zoning laws) but they generally don't have any authority unless it was specifically granted by state law. I rather doubt MN has granted its cities any powers to regulate what flys in any airspace, and that will likely be their immediate downfall. However, as previously indicated, that will require someone willing to commit the resources to challenge them.
     
  9. GMANNZ

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    Such a progressive paranoid little town .... :lol:
     
  10. neveradayoff

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    This is all great information Thank you!
     
  11. Visioneer

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    If the game is played on a public field, they probably do have the authority to ban RC craft. It's their airspace to do with as they please. Although they probably don't need a reason, I'm sure they could cite public safety, player distraction, etc. If the game is played on private property, the property owner probably has a say but, as it's likely a "public event", the public safety card can be played.

    I should have mentioned that while there is much room for debate regards who can regulate what in the airspace, there's not much dispute that a property owner controls what may or may not take place on the ground. That's how many state/federal parks dodge the vagaries of the airspace issue ... they simply disallow take offs and landings in the park, and the places most folks would choose to fly aren't reachable.
     
  12. PhantomDave

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    what are they going to do to regulate Google Earth?
     
  13. petersachs

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    I'll be brief. The law that you are speaking about here is preempted by federal law. It's clear that St. Boni either doesn't pass proposed ordinance by its attorney, or doesn't have an attorney. NOT LEGAL ADVICE, but this silly new "ban" can be ignored entirely.

    - Peter
     
  14. Visioneer

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    Regards the final outcome, that's almost certainly true. But in the interim you still run the risk of being cited and having to go to court. Or am I missing something?
     
  15. Visioneer

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    That's probably in NASA's jurisdiction :lol:
     
  16. petersachs

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    I'm sorry, I should have noted that caveat. Yes, you do run that risk.
     
  17. LarryLeisure

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    I don't expect expert legal advice here, but the following happened to me.(also, I don't want to thread jack):

    I live in Southern California...in an HOA community. I have flown my Phantom 2 three times there. Had about 20 people come up and say ", wow, that thing is so neat, cool, etc, etc..." But I also had 2 older gentlemen (50's) come up to me right in my face. One said "I'm calling the Sheriff...invasion of privacy...blah blah". I smiled and basically ignored him.

    Yesterday, some other Nosy know-it-all claimed ""You know these have been banned by the Homeowners association, blah blah.." I just stated "Oh Yeah? Show me..."....He did a lap in his cheesy Hummer H3 and I kept flying...

    What is your opinion on HOA's banning UAV's??? Not like I couldn't go off property and fly it in...duh! I'm a homeowner there, and I know the HOA Board has not even discussed this, but I am sure everyone is talking about me flying it...

    A photo of the community is attached. I just film/ photograph the sunsets, etc. and I am still learning how to get better and better at flying it. and yes, the Homeowners here are Nazi's!! Welcome to SoCal :(

    [​IMG]
     
  18. neveradayoff

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    That doesn't bother me. I want to hear others experiences, so thank you.
    In my opinion I can totally understand banning the cameras but not the craft.

    Even with that being said, I do not think the people making these laws understand just how close you would have to be to someone's window to be able to see in it very well with a GoPro. I know other cameras are available that are better, but come on really? Not to mention if you don't want the world seeing what your doing in your house close your blinds, I really do not want to see that anyways. I am sure there are some out there but I would say that the majority of us do not have the type of cameras that these laws are written for. And people worried about privacy in the own back yards, what are you hiding? There are laws already about being nude in the outdoors, even on your own property. Anything you would not want us to see is probably already illegal for you to be doing.

    I just want to be able to film my kids riding their bikes down the trail, sledding and playing in the park those kids of things. A few of my neighbors have asked me about my P2 and think it is neat. I try to only fly it over my property and the field in my back yard. Every now and them I will fly it down the street and back but I try to keep it above the road and only point the camera down the road, not at any houses (unless I am up a few hundred feet). I truly try to respect their privacy. What I get on the video is no different than if I was running down the street using my DSLR to film my kids.
     
  19. neveradayoff

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    How high do you think this photo was taken at?
     
  20. EMCSQUAR

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    Who would want to fly over St Boni? The entire community is the size of a postage stamp, even google maps can't find it. It's nothing more than a "gated community" less the gates - but with all the politics.

    Besides that was last years news...