Orchard Park to rescind drone law after 2 On Your Side Investigation

Orchard Park To Rescind Town Drone Law

TOWN OF ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- A local law that restricts drone use in the Town of Orchard Park is about to be rescinded, according to one of the members of the Town Board.

Councilman Michael Sherry credited a 2 On Your Side Investigation with exposing how the Town may have overstepped its authority in trying to regulate airspace, something specifically reserved for the FAA.

"Our concern was for people's safety," Sherry said of the motivation for enacting the local drone law back in 2015. He pointed out that was before the FAA released new rules in 2016.

"In the absence of regulations, we took action, but now (the FAA) has those regulations," Sherry explained.

He will introduce an ordinance at Wednesday night's public meeting asking the Town of Orchard Park Police Department to drop the violation against drone operator Joe Danno and to start the process of removing the Town's drone ordinance.

The restrictions in Orchard Park include a ban on flying a drone within 3 miles of New Era Field for 6 hours before up until 6 hours after any event at the stadium. The local law also bans drone use within 1 mile of any outdoor event with 200 or more people.

"I want to thank you and Channel 2 for bringing it to our attention," Sherry said. "What we did was some research into the FAA regulations (and) some court cases. And on the basis of that, they were pulled together, and we as a board looked at all of them."

In a letter to his colleagues, Councilman Sherry wrote, "I find it doubtful, at best, that our ordinance ... would be sustainable if legally challenged."

Sherry has asked Congressman Chris Collins (R-Clarence) to push the FAA and other federal authorities to continue to examine drone laws to ensure safety remains a priority, especially around sensitive areas like New Era Field.

© 2017 WGRZ-TV


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