Kennebunk, N.H., Considers Regulating Drones in Public Parks

The regulations would include use of drones in all 20 of the town's public parks.

by Donna Buttarazzi, Portsmouth Herald, N.H. / January 13, 2017
Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock

(TNS) -- KENNEBUNK, N.H -- The Board of Selectmen on Tuesday held a public hearing on a proposed park use ordinance, which includes regulations on the use of drones in all 20 of the town-owned parks.

Bill Lord, of Cape Porpoise, owner of Maine HDTV an aerial photography business using drone technology, told the board that he thought the ordinance should regulate the take off and landing of drones in public parks. The Federal Aviation Administration governs the air space, so drones would be able to fly over public parks, but under the proposed ordinance they would not be able to land or take off within a town park,without authorization. The proposed ordinance currently reads, "Drones shall not be allowed for use in Town parks or facilities without authorization from the Parks and Recreation Director."

Lord, who has a pilot's license, said that a lot of drones were found under the Christmas tree this year and use should be encouraged, but regulated.

"There may be a future John Glenn in those now interested in drones," Lord said. "My goal is to encourage the next John Glenn."

Lord said just like the skateboarders who used to skate down the sidewalks on Main Street until the town built a skate park, drone users need to be given a place to fly their drones at a time and place the public is aware of.

"Maybe it's in a field portion of a park, or at the beach in the winter time or something like that," Lord said.

Lord said drone racing is an up and coming new sport, and putting an affirmative statement in the ordinance acknowledges the enthusiasm of young people while creating some rules for the use of drones on town property.

Town Manager Mike Pardue suggested that the board consider Lord's suggestions, adding wording regulating take-offs and landings within town parks, "with the caveat that we use policy to govern. We can use a policy that we can amend if we find that it's not working rather than coming back and trying to change an ordinance."

The proposed ordinance will be amended and brought back before the board at the Jan. 24 meeting.

©2017 Portsmouth Herald, N.H. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.