HomeParadise Valley passes drone ordinance

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By Jeff Van Sant

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Paradise Valley City Council has approved a new UAV ordinance, making it the first of its kind in Arizona. The ordinance has been in the works for months, having gone through several drafts. Council member Maria Syms said the ordinance strikes a good balance.

“We’ve all been thoughtful and sensible,” Syms said.

The FAA is still working its own rules and regulations to deal with UAVs. The council put the ordinance into effect immediately, but said it can be changed once federal rules are put in place.

Attorney James Arrowood, an expert in drone laws, said it’s a step in the right direction.

“They tried to make the ordinance flow with that as it were so that they don’t have to rewrite a bunch of stuff once the FAA actually comes out with its new rules and regulations,” Arrowood said.

The new rules state that private drone use is fine when a person is using one on his or her own property and flying up to 500 feet. However, if someone wants to fly over someone else’s property, the user will have to get permission or it could be considered trespassing.

As for commercial use, people will  need to register their drones with police online.

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“If the local police department gets any complaint or phone calls of concern, they can say, ‘Oh yeah, we know who these people are. We know what they’re doing, and it’s OK. They’re not spying on you,'” Arrowood said.

The FAA is expected to come out with its new rules sometime this month or early next year.