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What Can Municipalities Do About Drones?

In an extremely short amount of time, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, or drones) have transitioned from their initial military applications to a wide range of uses by civilian government agencies, businesses, and individuals. Both the uses and owners/operators of drones will continue to proliferate as mass production improves affordability, and technological advancements make them more sophisticated, easier to maneuver, and smaller.

The increasing popularity of drones presents an urgent challenge for municipalities to address uses of drones that are inconsistent with community standards, such as safety and privacy. The key question is what can a municipality do when its citizenry demands a call to action to deal with the potential negative impacts of drone use by private parties? John Bakker, Chair of Meyers Nave’s Municipal and Special District Law Practice Group, answers this question in an article titled “What Can Municipalities Do About Drones?” published in the Nov/Dec 2015 issue of The Municipal Lawyer Magazine. Please click here to read John’s analysis of the debate about restrictions that federal and state law may place on the municipal regulation of the private operation of UAVs.