Ripon is close to drafting an ordinance on regulating drones.
These are the unmanned aircrafts or ships navigating autonomously or guided via remote control while reportedly creating a nuisance at city-wide events not to mention some invasion of privacy concerns.
At the June 14 meeting, the “Unmanned Aircraft Systems” ordinance was introduced to the Ripon City Council.
Once approved, this law will limit the usage and restrict locations of operations of flying drones and other unmanned aircrafts within city limits.
For the past year, the Ripon Police Department has received over a dozen calls on drones, which were seen flying over homes and other private places.
“The only things that the police can do right now is file a report with the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and request that person not fly in residential areas – that’s if we can locate the person flying (the drone),” Police Chief Ed Ormonde said.
He believes that an ordinance on this matter can work for everyone while protecting the community.
Chris Lake is in favor of the ordinance.
A long-time member of the Academy of Model Aeronautics, he’s among the handful of model plane-flying enthusiasts that meets regularly at the Mistlin Sports Park.
Lake perused through the draft, saying: “It looked great.”
However, he pointed to some areas that needed revisiting.
Lake suggested that the section prohibiting lights on unmanned aircraft systems should be allowed “as long as they’re following rules and regulations and are in a park area,” he said.
He added that the part on gliders flying well over 400 feet should be amended. “The AMA sets 400 feet as a recommendation and the only restriction is if there’s an airport close by,” said Lake.
In addition, he had no problem with flyers being closer to 100 feet of one another.
Staff, meanwhile, will look at the recommended changes before bringing back the ordinance to elected leaders at a later date.