Paradise Valley prepares drone ordinance proposal

The Town of Paradise Valley is looking into regulations for drones after someone was recently charged by police for using his drone. The proposal could cost violators up to $2,500 in fines and/or six months in jail.

"It's trumped up, to say the least," said attorney David Appleton.

Appleton says his client, local private investigator Paul Huebl, was charged with careless or reckless aircraft operation after he flew a drone over a home in Paradise Valley last summer.

In the 80's Huebl says he was acquitted of shooting and injuring a man, who lived at the home in the 80's.

"For nostalgia reasons is suspect, he went back to the property where the incident occurred, where he had to defend himself, defend his life, and he was using his drone well within his rights, taking photographs and video of the property," said Appleton.

The woman who lived in the home confronted Hueble, as he was flying the drone over her property.

"He was very polite and said wait a moment let me bring the drone down, he brought the drone down  to the ground, introduced himself, gave his card, and that he had this experience years before and wanted to take drone video of the property, that was it, and he left," said Appleton

The homeowner then called police.

"There was a gentleman that got in front of our house, he had a drone and was going all over our house. I don't know, can they just do that? Are there any restrictions on that? It's weird, kind of creepy," said the caller.

"Uh, no there's no restrictions," said the 9-1-1 operator.

"I've never experienced it before; I felt so violated," said the caller.

"Yeah, lawbooks are going to have to be changed, we've never dealt with that before," said the operator.

Six months later, Huebl was charged.

Paradise Valley has now drafted a drone ordinance which will be presented to the council and mayor Thursday. If passed, drones would only be able to be used with a single-event, limited use permit issued by the police department. Processing fees must be paid, and a notice will be given to owners of the property the drone is flying over, or near.

Huebl's attorney says the Federal Government plans to regulate drones and, therefore, trumps the Town's ordinance.

"I think it's unenforceable, I think they're possibly inviting litigation to challenge that ordinance," said Appleton. 

The possibility of a drone ordinance has some companies offering drone photography services concerned about a ripple effect to other cities.

"Our concern that the wrong drone ordinance would set a precedence for other cities to follow suit," said Mark Yori.

Yori operates a successful business called Arizona FPV and uses drones for photography.

"When we found out there was a drone ordinance, we wanted to make sure we had an opportunity to not only educate the board members on the good things drones can do, but dis-spell some of the myths of drones," he said. 

Yori and the board met Tuesday, he says the biggest concern PV council-members had was privacy and safety.

"I think it went really well, within the first five minutes it was a real open dialogue. The City Attorney was taking notes, asked a lot of questions, and we were given a really good forum to bring some education behind the technology," said Yori.

After Thursday's meeting, the town will vote within two weeks. 

To read the police report and ordinance visit: http://content.foxtvmedia.com/ksaz/pdfs/DOC078.PDF

Up Next:


  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories You May Be Interested In – includes Advertiser Stories