Drone debate in Holyoke centers around privacy

New proposal calls for $300 fines

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – A drone debate is heating up in Holyoke. Holyoke City Council President Kevin Jourdain wants to make it illegal to fly a drone over private property, unless you have written consent from the owner.

“Taking photographs of people in their backyards, flying over their house. I think that would make people uncomfortable,” Jourdain said.

He also wants to require written consent from the city to fly over any government property. His proposal would impose up to $300 dollar fines on violators. He said as more people start using the technology, he wants to make sure property owners are protected.

Professional drone photographer Jeffrey Byrnes of Jeffrey B. Photography told 22News he follows all of the federal government’s laws.

“Privacy shouldn’t be a concern with a photographer or videographer when it comes to the use of UAV. They are there to complete the task of recording an image or a video,” Byrnes said.

He said when cities make their own laws, they can conflict with Federal Aviation Administration laws, and make it confusing.

As of late last year, any one who operates a drone weighing more than half a pound, must register with the F-A-A.

Jourdain said this proposal has been sent to committee, and he hopes to have a public hearing on it in the future.

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