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Common council claims privacy concerns raised by neighbors prompted proposed drone ordinance

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- South Bend Common Council presidentsaid privacy concerns raised by residents caused the council to propose  a local level drone ordinance. 

Councilman Tim Scott said the council has received reportsof drones hovering over homes and outside of windows. The South Bend Police Department told ABC 57 News to submit a request for the number of calls maderegarding drone misuse. 

“I actually know a woman, who at her apartment, a drone wasflying outside her window when she got up in the morning,” said Scott.

Scott said the ordinance’s intent is simple, video or stillimages cannot be captured from a drone flying over someone’s private propertywithout the homeowner’s permission. Click here to read the full ordinance.

“I believe ordinance is slightly unfair,” said Ian Barron,who lives in South Bend. "The ordinance would create a witch hunt within our community."

According to the current ordinance draft, if caughtviolating the ordinance, penalties include: 

1.     A warning notice

2.     Citations, costing up to $250

3.     The impounding of the violator’s drone

Scott said the enforcement of the ordinance will becomplaint driven. However, there are exemptions to the ordinance:

1.     People who have an FAA license to operate a drone,

2.     Law enforcement agencies,

3.     And the city, when monitoring or documenting aspecial event. 

The first reading of the proposed ordinance is set forMonday, September 24 during the South Bend Common Council meeting. Scott saidpublic input won’t be taken at this meeting but encourages people to sharetheir opinions at the meeting in November. 

“We looked at a lot of the state laws, a lot of the federallaws that are out there, a lot of the lawsuits that were out there,” saidScott. “That’s why we kind of made this as simple as possible.”

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