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Oyster Bay Town Board to vote on drone use over land

Tyler Barkin, left, and Scott Harrigan, both from

Tyler Barkin, left, and Scott Harrigan, both from Oyster Bay, with drone models. The Oyster Bay Town Board is discussing regulating drone use. Credit: Douglas Barkin

The Oyster Bay Town Board plans to vote today on an ordinance regulating the operation of unmanned aerial vehicles — drones — over town-owned property. 

The board postponed a vote in July after a public hearing in which several operators, both hobbyists and professionals, asked officials to make changes to the proposal. The revised version includes some of the requested changes.

Under the original proposal, people or companies seeking to fly drones over town property would have had to apply for a permit for a specific date.

The revised ordinance would remove language about airspace, which is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration, and instead require a permit to launch or land a drone from or on town property.

The permits could be either seasonal or for specific dates.

The revised ordinance also incorporates a request to allow membership in Indiana-based Academy of Model Aeronautics to serve as proof of insurance for noncommercial use.

Scott Harrigan, 27, the owner of Harkin Aerial, an Oyster Bay-based company that uses drones to shoot commercial video, said in an email yesterday that he and others who spoke at the July hearing subsequently met with the town attorney’s office.

He said he received a copy of the revised ordinance yesterday afternoon.

“We feel this was a very fair revision and takes into account both the public concerns and the concerns of operators like us,” Harrigan said in an email.

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