City of Ferndale passes on chance to ban flying drones

The issue of banning drones in Ferndale was struck from the agenda Monday night.
The city of Ferndale decided to float its decision on drones for now. 

The council was to consider a ban on the unmanned aerial vehicles.

A line of people most of them with a drone in hand stood up in front of the city council begging them to reconsider a city wide ban on the remote controlled aircrafts. 

After hearing what they had to say, the council agreed and the issue fell like a drone from the sky.

As it stands now the city of Ferndale already has a ban on remote controlled airplanes. It is an ordinance that the chief of police admits is rarely, if ever, enforced.

But there was concern about a new technology buzzing around the skies - drones.

"I do a lot of aerial photography," said Jonathan Hair, a drone owner. "I take some really nice pictures but we have smaller machines we do racing with."

Phone calls to council members saying drones have been used to invade privacy and harass people is what prompted the discussion in the first place.

"Model aircraft are a terrible way to spy on people," Hair said. "I can't think of a worse way. They don't make a lot of noise but they make enough noise that nothing is going to sneak up on you. 

"The cameras, particularly a GoPro camera, is very wide-angle. Even though it is a nice picture, it is meant for a panoramic shot. No one is spying on you. We're just nerds having fun with our toys." 

In the end, the only people who came out to speak on the issue were those in support of the flying aircraft hobby. Including people who use it to make a living. 

A chimney repairman says he flies his drone to inspect for repairs, adding that it's highly unlikely they can do any damage.

"If this hits a brick, this thing is 86-ed," the repairman said. 

In the end the drone supporters safely landed their position with the council.

"I agree with my fellow council members, I don't think right now is the time to vote on this," 

Which means for now the drones can safely buzz around the ferndale city limits without risk of landing it's owners in trouble.

"I was really impressed with the number of people who came out," Hair said. "All in support of model aircraft. I'm really happy the council changed their minds on this issue."

Most of the people speaking to FOX 2 say they've always thought of Ferndale as a progressive and inclusive city and they think the decision by the council to take it off the agenda only reinforces their opinion.

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