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City Leaders Table Drone Ban Proposal After Professionals Raise Concerns

By Jeff Todd

THORNTON, Colo. (CBS4) - The Thornton City Council decided to set aside an ordinance to ban flying a drone from public areas on Tuesday night. The council decided it needed more information from professionals and citizens to make a decision.

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Lakewood Professional Photographer Vic Moss spoke before the council because of concern the ordinance would effectively ban drone flights in the city.

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Vic Moss (credit: CBS)

"Prohibiting launching from city sidewalks and open spaces and things like that which is problematic in the commercial side of things," Moss said. "That's really going to shut down where the hobbyists can fly."

The ordinance centered around making it unlawful to launch, land or control a Unmanned Aerial System from any public street, highway, sidewalk, or open space except in areas designated for that purpose.

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"We're at a danger just doing our job and when cities and counties and states start talking about making this illegal due to safety issues or privacy issues. That makes our job that much harder," Moss said.

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Drone pilots who shot commercial photography and even drone racers spoke before the council of the consequences of the proposed measure. Late Tuesday night, Mayor Heidi Williams said she didn't want to have unintended consequences from the law.

Moss said he'd like to work with the city to establish rules like other Colorado towns have.

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"If you have a permit system set up, I think that's a very good common ground," he said. "Myself as commercial operator and as a hobbyist would not have a problem with that."

Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he's been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.

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