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Belle Plaine city council discusses drone ordinance.

The city council of Belle Plain, Iowa on Wednesday, March 1st held a council meeting discussing numerous issues including a segment regarding the use of drones around the city. In a phone interview with a Belle Plain Ambulance Services spokesperson, the concern is over a local drone pilot “Interfering” with their operations of service, and the families they serve. The spokesperson also reports the drone is spying and invading public peace and enjoyment of those in town. The operator that is flying the drone remains unidentified at this time but will be updated as we know more. John DeRaad, a resident of Belle Plaine, mentioned during a March 1 city council meeting, that he is aware of the concerns, but wants to make sure the city does not get too restrictive on drone laws that affect responsible drone operators.

Iowans for Drone Freedom has reached out to city officials who have assured us that they are looking for solutions within their power to address the drone issues reported by their citizens without preempting Federal Regulations. We were able to provide them resources to work with the FAA and other drone advocacy organizations.**

The Federal Aviation Administration does have regulations in place that prohibit the use of drones or aircraft to interfere with emergency response efforts. Additionally, FAA regulations prohibit flying Uncrewed Aircraft Systems (UAS) over a person or moving vehicles for most drone operations.

The full text of the meeting minutes can be found below:

A discussion on drones was held at this meeting. Several residents
spoke and were allowed to express their view of the drone situation. Bruce Gapstur, Belle
Plaine Airport Manager, provided information on current FAA regulations regarding drones.
Elana Johnson and others from the Belle Plaine Ambulance Service expressed concerns with
a local drone operator flying his drone around accident scenes and general harassment of
Ambulance personnel. John DeRaad of Belle Plaine said he understands the concerns, but
wants to make sure that we don’t go overboard in making drone laws too restrictive for
responsible drone operators. Bruce Gapstur recommended we reach out to the FAA for
enforcement of existing rules until more laws are passed. We only received one response
from a request the mayor sent to fellow mayors regarding existing ordinances on drones.
Sandy will send a similar request out through Clerknet to see if we can get more information
on existing ordinances and enforcement.

Belle Plain City Council Minutes March 1st, 2023

*This story is still developing and updates will be made as they become available.

** Updated 3/15 Kevin Barber spoke with a city official.

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