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Seaside Heights Introduces ‘Friendly’ Drone Regulations

A drone being used on a beach. (Credit: Bay Post/Australia)

A drone being used on a beach. (Credit: Bay Post/Australia)

A week after Toms River officials voted down a set of regulations for the operation of drones, Seaside Heights officials introduced its own ordinance regulating them – however officials say the town will remain “drone friendly.”

Seaside Heights had been considering regulating drones for over a year following an incident during which a person was hit with a drone during the annual Polar Bear Plunge in 2016. The borough, however, waited for new regulations to be released by the Federal Aviation Administration before developing an ordinance they say is more permissive than the one Toms River rejected.

“We made it a drone-friendly ordinance,” said Borough Administrator Christopher Vaz. “Even though it has restrictions, it gives you a year-round right to fly on the bay, and the right to fly some time of the year on the boardwalk and beach.’

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The ordinance bans drones from operating over the boardwalk, ocean beach and public bay docks and swimming beach April 30 to Oct. 1, but allows those who wish to do so the chance to apply and receive a permit to operate. The ordinance also bans drones from flying above public school property without permission from a school administrator. The borough may also establish temporary “no fly zones,” which must be publicly posted.

The proposed ordinance, which will be subject to a public hearing and second vote before adoption on May 17, will be enforced by the borough’s police department and code enforcement division.