Enthusiasts for flying unmanned aircrafts will have to back off the controls a bit when it comes to a sporting event or any city event for that matter.
The Ripon City Council recently adopted the “drone ordinance.” This is the new law that regulates the operation of any model aircraft or Civil UAS within the city limits.
Councilman Mark Winchell requested changing the proposed 100-foot flight ceiling. That was same distance from within “any organized event including, but not limited to, any sporting event, festival, fair, or otherwise,” according to the ordinance.
“One hundred feet is not very much, either way,” he said.
Winchell recommended extending those limits – both operating height and around the said events – to 500 feet.
His colleagues agreed, supporting the ordinance with Winchell’s recommended changes, 5-0.
In the interest of public safety, those in violation would be asked to immediately cease flight operation or face a misdemeanor fine of no more than $1,000.
The worst case scenario for repeat violators would be either a fine and / or six months in the San Joaquin County Jail.
For the past year, the Ripon Police Department received dozens of complaints about drones – they were also referred to as ship navigating autonomously or guided via remote control – over homes, businesses not to mention city-wide events.
Without an ordinance on the matter, police could only file a report with the Federal Aviation Administration.
Chris Lake of the Academy of Model Aeronautics is among the model plane-flying group that meets regularly at the Mistlin Sports Park.
In June, he favored the new ordinance, believing that it can work for his group and protect the community.