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Warner Robins passes ordinance limiting drone use

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. -- The Warner Robins City Council approved an ordinance limiting the use of drones in the city.

It states that people cannot fly drones or "unmanned aerial vehicles" in any air space below 400 feet on major public roads like Watson Blvd., Russell Parkway, Houston Lake Road, Moody Road and Davis Drive.

The ordinance also prohibits flying drones over any area where public safety personnel are present or airspace above any government or public buildings, property or parks.

"What I don't want to see is to look on Facebook and we have an officer down and a drone is feeding it live," said Councilman Tim Thomas. "That I don't want to see."

The council passed the ordinance quickly because there is a Georgia law that states if a city doesn't have an ordinance about drones in place before April 1, they can't enact one after that date. Warner Robins city attorney Jim Elliott said the law is in place to keep restrictions uniform throughout Georgia.

"That kind of put us on the fast track to get this approved tonight so we can go back and amend that ordinance later on but if we don't have it on the books by the first we can't do anything," Thomas said.

Members of the council said they wanted to pass the ordinance in the interest of public safety. If there is an active investigation or emergency situation, they don't want people with drones to gather and release footage before family is notified.

It's also a safety concern for those driving on the roads.

"We saw drones flying over the road the other day dipping up and down over cars," said Brett Evans, Warner Robins Police Chief. "That's a safety issue."

Those with drones can still fly them on their private property.



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