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Kinsman unable to ground, regulate drones

KINSMAN — Residents are expressing concerns of drones flying over township properties, but Kinsman trustees say there is little they can do to stop this — with residents likely having to handle the problem as a civil matter.

Trustee Fred Stahl said he has received calls from residents about drones flying over their properties.

He said the township does not address drones in its zoning codes.

“We are not responsible for anyone who uses a drone. If there is a question of a drone going over your place and you do not like it, it is a matter to call the police about,” Stahl said during this week’s trustees meeting.

Police Chief Shawn Rentz said police also are limited on what they can do about drones. But said if the drone is 400 feet or higher, it reaches commercial air and then is enforced by the Federal Aviation Administration.

He said licenses also are required for people to operate a drone.

Trustee Chairman Greg Leonhard said law enforcement has used drones and helicopters to fly over properties searching for contraband or executing a search warrant. He said nothing in the Ohio Revised Code deals with citing or charging someone with flying a drone.

“Until the legislature catches up with this, it is a civil issue or a FAA jurisdiction matter,” he said.

Rentz said a police report can at least be on file if someone has a complaint.

He said if a drone is flown on someone’s own private property is not a violation, but if they go on other properties to take photos it is trespassing.

Stahl said a concern arises if a drone falls and causes an accident or damage.

Other communities in recent years set limits on drones and small remote-controlled aircraft focusing on invasion of privacy and property damage.

In 2015, McDonald village approved legislation to monitor drones. The legislation did not prohibit but rather restricted them when flying above crowds or above homes and near windows. Individuals need to obtain written permission to operate a drone in the village.

Several school districts, including Hubbard and Liberty, have prohibited drones on school property and the football stadium for sporting events, scrimmages and games. The Canfield Fair Board also has banned drones at the fairgrounds.

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