Scottsdale aligns with state of Arizona drone regulations

A new ordinance is set to take effect in Scottsdale removing a prohibition of unmanned aircrafts, including drones but would regulate their takeoff and landing in city parks and at the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

The Scottsdale City Council voted unanimously to adopt the ordinance at its Tuesday, Sept. 20 regular meeting at City Hall. The ordinance will take effect Oct. 20.

The ordinance comes on the heels of a new state law that does not allow cities, towns or counties to regulate unmanned aircrafts. However, it does allow them to regulate landing and takeoff in city parks and preserves.

According to a staff proposal, the proposed ordinance would amends parts of the Scottsdale Revised Code that prohibit gas-powered model aircrafts. However, the ordinance does add a new article which prohibits the landing and takeoff of unmanned aircrafts in its parks and preserves, according to the proposal.

According to the proposal, for the time being, these areas include: McDowell Sonoran Preserve, Pinnacle Peak Park and Trailhead, Mescal Park and Stonegate Park.

However, these regulations do not apply to the city’s police or law enforcement departments, fire department or other city personnel on official duties, the proposal states.

Additionally, people performing inspections, maintenance or repair work as well as people providing emergency, search and rescue, medical, veterinary services or other city-related business would be immune from these regulations with the city’s approval, the proposal states.

Along with regulations, the ordinance also lines out penalties for those who break these laws.

According to the proposal, the first offense is a petty fine between $50 and $300. The second or subsequent would be a class 2 misdemeanor with a fine no less than $300 if the offense occurred within a year of the first.

The rationale behind the regulations is a concern for public and wildlife safety and welfare as well as the preservation of natural areas, according to the proposal.

With the approval of the ordinance, the city will begin putting up signs in the specified areas as well as develop a communication strategy to let the residents know of the regulations.

The Scottsdale Independent is published monthly and mailed to 75,000 homes and businesses in Scottsdale.

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