Holyoke leaders want to regulate drones in the city

Holyoke hasn't had any privacy problems concerning drones yet

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The city council was worried about privacy. On Tuesday, they unanimously voted to regulate drone usage in Holyoke.

Drones can be used for business or recreation. They carry cameras that take aerial photographs. But the city of Holyoke wants to make sure privacy isn’t comprised.

The regulations would require drone owners to get written consent from property owners, if they planned on flying on or above someone’s home. They would also be restricted from flying at nighttime. A drone advocate said, there are already restrictions in place by the FAA.

Under existing federal regulations, pilots are already prohibited from flying drones at night or over people without their consent. Last month, the FAA ruled commercial drone pilots must first pass a test before being allowed to fly. A Drone must weigh less than 55 pounds and must remain within sight of the person controlling it.

Related: New FAA rules for commercial drones go into effect

“I feel that municipalities should not be in the business of creating policies when there’s already a federal institution already in place to do so. I think they need to focus on the larger issues at hand,” said Jeffry Byrnes, a drone advocate.

“States in the ordinance, related to those federal regulations really related to commercial, not so much hobbiest,” said Kevin Jourdian, Holyoke City Council President.

Jourdain told 22News, if passed, the police will enforce the rules. A violator could be fined up to $100, for repeat offenses.

Jourdain also said they haven’t had any privacy problems concerning drones. He said Holyoke wants to have rules in place, just in case.

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