City of Orlando Passes New Drone Ordinace: Effective Immediately

By: Abigail Roberts

01.26.17

This week, the City of Orlando announced the passage of its new Drone Ordinance- the amended Section 43.02 of the Code of the City of Orlando (Operation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems- Restrictions on Operation). The ordinance goes into effect immediately.

The ordinance imposes certain restrictions on the operation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), also referred to as drones. In pertinent part, subject to certain restrictions, the ordinance prohibits the operation of a drone within 500 feet of any outdoor public assembly, any event with more than 1000 people in attendance, a county or municipal detention facility, or venue (defined in the Ordinance as The Amway Center, Camping World Stadium, Harry P. Leu Gardens, The Mennello Museum of American Art, The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, and any other building designated as a venue by the Executive Director of Orlando Venues or the City Council). The law further restricts the operation of drones, subject to certain exceptions, within 500 feet of a park, school or government building.

Those drone operators seeking to operate in areas that are otherwise prohibited by the new ordinance must seek a permit from the City of Orlando. Interestingly, the new law imposes a relatively unique requirement- that applicants for a UAS permit must also furnish proof of insurance.
In addition to the restrictions described above, the Ordinance prohibits the operation of UAS while under the influence of drugs or controlled substances, the use of weaponized drones, or the operation of drones in a careless or reckless manner. Violators of this section are subject to penalties including a fine and, in some instances, imprisonment. The law also imposes a requirement that anyone involved in a crash or accident involving a drone must remain at the scene and render reasonable assistance to any injured person, and also prohibits the use of drones for voyeurism or harassment.

In addition to the new Ordinance, those operating drones in Orlando also need to comply with the Florida Statutes regarding drones as well as the comprehensive Federal Regulations. Individuals with questions regarding drone operation are encouraged to contact a qualified drone attorney for consultation.
 
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