Board won’t try to ground drone used in busi­ness

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Wil­liam J. Kem­ble news@free­manon­

WOOD­STOCK >> Town Board mem­bers ex­pect to re­visit is­sues in­volv­ing pri­vate drone use, but don’t plan to stop a lo­cal videog­ra­pher from con­duct­ing aerial photography as part of his busi­ness.

Reg­u­la­tion of drones was raised dur­ing a board meet­ing Tues­day. David Laks asked whether a 2014 memo­ri­al­iz­ing res­o­lu­tion meant the town would take ac­tion to stop his drone flights.

“I just want to make sure that, if I’m in Wood­stock do­ing a job and some­one were to call the po­lice and say, ‘There’s a drone fly­ing near my house,’ that the po­lice and ev­ery­one’s on board that it’s OK,” he said.

Laks said he uses the drones to do video of prop­er­ties for real es­tate agen­cies. He added he has be­come li­censed un­der Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion rules that have been adopted since the town res­o­lu­tion was adopted, but wants to avoid alarm­ing mu­nic­i­pal of­fi­cers or law en­force­ment agen­cies.

The res­o­lu­tion stated the Town Board “de­sires Wood­stock to be a ‘no drone zone’ (and) strongly (warns) that the un­re­stricted, un­reg­u­lated use of drones is a se­ri­ous threat to the con­sti­tu­tional rights of all Amer­i­cans.”

Town Board mem­bers in the res­o­lu­tion were pri­mar­ily con­cerned about the use of drones by govern­ment agen­cies.

“The fed­eral govern­ment and the state of New York have failed to pro­vide rea­son­able le­gal re­stric­tion on the use of drones within the United States,” they wrote. “Drones can be used to (watch) in­di­vid­u­als or groups around the clock, in pub­lic spa­ces or through the win­dows of pri­vate homes, and to con­tin­u­ously mon­i­tor cell phone and text mes­sag­ing, and po­lice de­part­ments through­out the coun­try have be­gun im­ple­ment­ing drone tech­nol­ogy ab­sent any guid­ance from la mak­ers.”

Coun­cil­man Bill McKenna said the res­o­lu­tion would not af­fect the use of drones if fed­eral li­censes have been se­cured.

“There’s re­ally not much en­force­ment to it,” he said. “It’s more our de­sire to have both the state and the fed­eral govern­ment reg­u­late.”

Coun­cil­woman Laura Ricci said there is a con­cern that pri­vate drone own­ers will in­vade pri­vacy, and there should be more strin­gent reg­u­la­tions placed on aerial videog­ra­phy.

“I don’t want the Na­tional En­quirer ... look­ing in my win­dow,” she said. “Not that they would want to look through my win­dow, ... (but) there are peo­ple for their own rea­son, for their own pri­vate cause, might want to be run­ning drones around.”

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