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Ashland city officials set new rules for flying drones

The Federal Aviation Administration expects about 1 million drones, a type of recreational flying device, will be sold during the 2015 holiday season.

The Ashland Board of Alderman is preparing for the increase in popularity by passing new rules for flying drones near the Columbia Regional Airport and within city limits.

Board members voted unanimously for the new ordinance at it’s December 1 meeting.

Mayor Gene Rhorer said they have already seen more drones starting to fly around the city.

“Technology generally takes place first and legislation second, so as a city we want to try to stay ahead of this because the airport is in such close proximity to the city,” he said.

The FAA has specific safety guidelines for drones, which include flying below 400 feet, not flying within five miles of an airport, not flying near people or stadiums and not weighing more than 55 pounds.

Much of Ashland’s city limit is within that five mile radius of the regional airport. The new legislation will now allow residents to legally fly a drone in the area.

After working with the Columbia Regional Airport and the FAA, alderman voted to limit the flight of drones to no more than 130 feet. The board also advises residents to ask for their neighbor’s permission before flying a drone over their property.

“Since they have cameras, it’s kind of a privacy issue,” said Mayor Rhorer. “Having that permission makes people aware you do have a drone in the area.”

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