Local Drone Regulation Conversation Put On Hold
They may sound like bees buzzing, but the only thing swarming around drones these days are questions.
The unmanned aerial devices, now readily available at big-box stores across the country and getting cheaper, are prompting more and more comments like this one from at-large councilman Richard Maloney at a Tuesday Planning and Public Safety Committee meeting:
"This is new. It's a concern to a lot of citizens," he said. "As you know, in the last couple weeks we've had some incidents with the University of Kentucky."
He’s referring to the case of UK law student Peyton Wilson, who allegedly crashed his drone into a section of Commonwealth Stadium during the Wildcats season opener last month. While the situation was a first for campus police, officers were able to pin charges of second-degree wanton endangerment on Wilson. And that’s the strategy Lexington Police Chief Mark Barnard recommended the city stick with for now – taking the issue on a case-by-case basis until the FAA and state legislators weigh in.
"We have laws that fit right now, but going forward I think it's such a new issue that to try to create some legislation on it without fully understanding it, I think we're putting the cart before the horse," he said.
Barnard says the FAA is working up new rules for drones and a bill has been prefiled in the Kentucky General Assembly that could clarify whether law enforcement can also utilize the devices.
In Lexington, the issue was taken out of committee until the council gets clearer signals from higher up.