SoCal City Wants Nighttime Ban on Drones

SoCal City Wants Nighttime Ban on Drones
File photo by Ted Eytan/Flickr

West Hollywood wants to become the next city to impose strict limits on flying drones.

The City Council tomorrow will consider a proposal that would ban drone flying at night, require a permit for drone operators and prohibit flyers from capturing photos and video of private citizens who might otherwise expect privacy.

The Federal Aviation Administration has told cities and states to leave the rule-making to it. That hasn't stopped local politicians from getting all up in your unmanned aerial vehicles, though.

Los Angeles now says you can't fly within 5 miles of LAX or other airports. A state lawmaker is proposing tiny license plates for your drone.

West Hollywood might be taking drone regulation to new heights.

In late October authorities indicated that a drone might have flown into power lines, knocking out electricity for 700 WeHo residents for three hours. That would make us mad, too.

The West Hollywood proposal, which is up for a potential final vote, says you can't take photos or video of private people from your drone:

No person shall operate any model aircraft or civil UAS within the city to capture, record or transmit any visual image or audio recording of any person or private real property located in the city under circumstances in which the subject person or owner of the subject real property has a reasonable expectation of privacy (including, but not limited to, inside a private office and inside a hotel room).

Bow-chica-bow-wow, said the First Amendment attorney.

Electronic peeping Toms aside, the proposal also would ban drone use between sunset and sunrise unless otherwise permitted. And operators would be prohibited from using their drones above city parks.

City Hall would set up a permit process for those of you still wanting to fly your drones anywhere near West Hollywood. 

This all sounds a bit draconian to us. And just think, West Hollywood is supposed to be a liberal town.

The council meets at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at 625 N. San Vicente Blvd.

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