Full Ban on Drones in Ocean City Faces Final Vote on Thursday

first_imgIn Los Angeles, a 57-year old man was charged with obstructing a police officer after officials said he flew a drone near a police helicopter. The helicopter “had to make some movements to avoid” the drone, a police officer said. (LAPD detains man they say was flying drone too close to police helicopter, Los Angeles Times, August 28, 2015, by Joseph Serna). In Clinton, Connecticut, the FAA and local police began an investigation when an 18-year old was reported to have posted a video online of shots being fired from a four-propeller drone rigged with a semi-automatic handgun. The father reportedly told a local television station that his son created the drone with a professor as part of a project. Conversely, the professor reportedly says he discouraged the student from the project. Hartford Courant, July 24, 2015, by Nicholas Rondinone and Christine Dempsey. In Geraldton, Australia, a drone injured a competitor in a triathlon and the drone pilot claimed the drone was ‘hacked’. (‘River of blood’ after drone ‘hits’ Australian athlete, The Sydney Morning Herald, April 7, 2014, by Ben Grubb; and A drone flies in front of a property listed for sale at the south end of Ocean City.City Council on Thursday will hold a public hearing and cast final votes on an ordinance that would ban the use of drones in any airspace at any height over Ocean City, NJ.Council will consider the measure at a public meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 12 at City Hall. If passed, the measure would become law 20 days later.The ordinance bans drones “from airspace within five miles of the Ocean City Airport.” That radius includes all of Ocean City (and would be enforceable only within the boundaries of Ocean City).Violations would be punishable by a fine not more than $500 for a first offense and a fine up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment up to 30 days for each subsequent offense.The devices have useful applications in emergency searches, photography, construction, marketing, recreation and other areas.But Ocean City, like other towns, has experienced a number of incidents that demonstrate the potential for drones to be a nuisance, invasion of privacy or threat to safety. (See at end of story: list of reported incidents compiled by supporters of a drone ban in California towns.)_________Get the Daily: Sign up for our free Ocean City news service_________In other business at Thursday’s City Council meeting:Half-Stories: City Council will consider amending the ordinance that governs half-stories of houses in residential zones.Sheds: City Council will consider eliminating the ordinance governing sheds.Rental Unit Fees: City Council will consider eliminating mercantile license fees on units rented for more than 175 days.Building Heights: City Council will consider the second reading of an ordinance that change the method of measuring building heights.Bulkhead and Road Improvements at 11th Street and W. 17th Street: City Council will vote to award a $839,300 contract to R.A. Walters and Son of Cape May Court House to replace bulkheads at the ends of 11th Street and W. 17th Street, where tidal water often runs through to flood streets.For a complete list of agenda items and supporting documentation, see the Agenda Packet._________________Summary of Reported Drone Crashes and Dangerous Drone IncidentsIn Pasadena, a baby was reported to suffer a quarter-inch cut on her head when a camera-equipped drone crashed on a sidewalk after the communications link was lost. (Falling drone injures 11-month old near Pasadena City Hall, Pasadena Star-News, September 15, 2015, by Jason Henry). In Imperial County, a drone was used to smuggle 28 pounds of heroin across the U.S.-Mexico border. Drone smuggles heroin into U.S., San Diego Union-Tribune, August 12, 2015, by Kristina Davis). In Maryland, an inmate and two others were indicted for allegedly devising a plot to smuggle drugs, cellphones and other contraband into a prison using a drone after the drone was reportedly intercepted along with pornography, tobacco and the synthetic drug K-2. (Inmate indicted in alleged drone prison smuggling plot, Baltimore Sun, September 22, 2014, by Ian Duncan). In Seattle, a drone knocked a woman unconscious at a parade. (Woman knocked unconscious by falling drone during Seattle’s Pride parade, The Seattle Times, June 29, 2015). In Valdosta, Georgia, authorities said a 9-year veteran police officer was charged with felony eavesdropping and fired after being accused of using a drone to spy on a neighbor. Valdosta police officer charged with felony eavesdropping, Valdosta Today, September 15, 2015).center_img In Albuquerque, a drone buzzed a crowd at an outdoor festival and injured a bystander. (Drone falls from sky, hits person at Albuquerque festival, Albuquerque Journal, June 15, 2015). In Tijuana, a drone mutilated the hand of pop star Enrique Iglesias when a drone stunt went wrong. (Enrique Iglesias recovering after cutting hand, USA Today, May 31, 2015, by Cindy Clark). In Dinwiddie County, Virginia, a drone injured spectators at a re-enactment of the Running of the Bulls. (Drone crashes into Virginia bull run crowd, The Washington Post, Aug. 26, 2013, by Martin Weil). During the United States Open tennis tournament in New York City, a high school teacher was charged with reckless endangerment after he was accused of crashing a drone into a section of empty seats at Louis Armstrong Stadium. (Drone Crashes Into Seats at Armstrong, New York Times, September 5, 2015, by David Waldstein). His lawyer said he was trying to take video images of a globe sculpture at nearby Flushing Meadows Park at sunset, when “the drone went haywire”. Lawyer: Drone-crasher … AP, September 17, 2015). At the University of Kentucky, police charged a law student with endangerment for allegedly flying a drone that crashed inside Commonwealth Stadium just before kickoff of the Wildcats’ home opener football game. (University of Kentucky student not charged in drone crash, but investigation continues, Lexington Herald-Leader, September 8, 2015, by Beth Musgrave). A military sky diver parachuting into the stadium during pregame festivities told the police that “he had to take emergency evasive maneuvers to avoid contact with the drone”, which reportedly came within 20 feet of his parachute. (Kentucky law student charged with flying drone at college football game, Reuters, September 11, 2015, by Brendan O’Brien) In Constitucion, Buenos Aires, two women were injured after they were hit by a drone that fell from the sky while reportedly being used to film a TV commercial. (Falling drone hits two in downtown BA, The Buenos Aires Herald, Aug. 19, 2015).last_img

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