Board won’t try to ground drone used in business
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.”