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Jan 4, 2016 11:32 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Sag Harbor Village Board Will Drop Proposed Regulations On Drones After FAA Action

Jan 5, 2016 10:13 AM

The Sag Harbor Village Board will ground proposed regulations on the use of remote-controlled drones within its borders, thanks to new rules announced by the Federal Aviation Administration just in time for the holidays, when drones were expected to be popular gifts.

The FAA now will require federal registration of all drones to be used recreationally, and will collect that information in a national database, according to a fact sheet the agency released on December 17. That preempts all local rules, the agency said, as it was given the authority to regulate navigable airspace by Congress.

The agency noted that, if local municipalities were allowed to enact different laws regarding drones, the navigable airspace would become too segmented.

According to Village Attorney Fred W. Thiele Jr., the move by the FAA invalidates any rules that might be enacted at the local level—including strict new limits considered by the Sag Harbor Village Board.

“When we held this hearing in December, [the FAA] had talked about acting for quite some time,” Mr. Thiele said of a public hearing held last month on the proposed local drone regulations. “My opinion to the board on drones is now that the FAA has acted, local and state governments are preempted.”

Mr. Thiele noted that, previously, the FAA had not regulated the recreational use of drones weighing more than a half pound, and had only regulated the use of drones for commercial or business purposes, which is why the village decided to step in with new rules. Now that the agency has included recreational use because of the increased popularity of drones, Mr. Thiele said, local governments do not have the authority to enact regulations.

Sag Harbor’s regulations would have prohibited flying unmanned aircraft without first obtaining permission from the subject being photographed, the property owner or, if flown over village property, the Village Board.

“Typically, the reason for the preemption is that you need a uniform rule, whether it is aviation or the environment,” Mr. Thiele said. “You need a uniform rule, and having 500 or 1,000 different rules just doesn’t make sense.”

He continued, “That is one of the reasons for federal preemption, and I am sure that is why the federal government finally acted.”

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One drone crash, and they've already got regulations in place... I love this town.
By The Royal 'We' (187), Southampton on Jan 4, 16 4:16 PM