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Conoy Township passes law restricting drone use

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Conoy Township, Lancaster County is the first municipality to pass a law restricting the use of drones.

In a unanimous vote Thursday, the township’s board of supervisors voted to enact a law that states operators of remote-controlled aircraft must get permission if they will be flying them over others’ property.

“We’re not restricting the people from doing it, we’re telling them if you do it, we want to know about it and we want to make sure you have permission,” said supervisor Stephen Mohr.

Mohr suggested the board act after coming across a drone in his neighborhood. He was alarmed by the possibilities.

“I can see them being used to fly over school areas, if nothing else to startle the kids,” he said.

Craig Peck joined other members of the Lancaster County Radio Control Club to see what the township was going to do.

“We’re not renegades that violate people’s rights,” Peck said.

For Peck, it’s more than a hobby. He uses remote-controlled helicopters in his business, Flying Media.

He said he’s fine with the new law, which is much less restrictive than he thought it would be.

“There’s nothing unreasonable with what they asked, I guess it would be another story,” Peck said. “But as you heard the solicitor, he said no foul, photography, we’re not talking about it, we’re just talking about basic privacy rights.”

Mohr said hobbyist weren’t the only ones watching the vote closely.

“There’s actually one board of county commissioners in Central Pennsylvania that is interested to see how this goes tonight because they’re thinking of enacting one countywide,” Mohr said.

Violators could face a fine of up to $300.

The new restriction on drones was a part of a larger law prohibiting public nuisances.

7 comments

  • HowIgnorantRU?

    How in the world can one prove that a drone was over their their property line and conversely, how could a drone operator prove that they never encroached a property line?
    Can you see the future? Paranoids shooting down kids' copters claiming violation of privacy over the property line, LOL.
    Plant forests on your land. That should protect us from drones and those pesky satellite images of our properties, too.
    And no one mentioned how drones can terrorize our pets in the backyard.
    Someone is eventually going to be spied on having sex in their second floor bedroom with the blind not completely drawn. What then? It'll be on YouTube and they'll lose their jobs for being in porn. Great way to disgrace political opponents.
    The drone wars are just beginning. Cameras everywhere started out this way too.

  • jack russell

    There are already laws against peeping in windows and against invading privacy. What most people jump to conclusions about and don’t understand is how little you can actually see inside a dwelling from outside. These things use inexpensive cameras that don’t have the ability to see in a dim interior from outside surrounded by brighter light.

    And try flying one. It’s not that easy! You have to really practice a lot and spend a lot of money to get one flying well. The people that would spend the money on one with enough capability to break any existing laws probably wouldn’t be breaking them in the first place!

    The biggest threat to freely flying copters is nothing more than hype and fear mongering, primarily invented and espoused by the media because it makes a good story. Period.

  • Sam Kephart

    Domestic drone usage is ill-conceived, elitist, and end-runs our inherent Constitutional protections.

    Here are two (2), very well-produced, videos that anchor my points:

    Emmy Award-winning newscaster Shad Olson’s ‘The Great Drone Debate’, featuring US Senator John Thune:


    Here’s a mind-blowing, well-done animated short that really captures our collective angst that if the road to hell is paved with good intentions, then domestic drones are a superhighway to an Orwellian panoptic gulag.
    http://vimeo.com/59689349

    For national security purposes, Americans are already subject to warrantless wiretaps of calls and emails, the warrantless GPS “tagging” of their vehicles, the domestic use of Predators or other spy-in-the-sky drones, and the Department of Homeland Security’s monitoring of all our behavior through “data fusion centers.” 
    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/ff_nsada

    America’s promise has always been the power of the many to rule, instead of the one. Ungoverned drone usage, particularly domestically, gives power to the one. 

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