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Great Neck Estates Village Board Votes To Ban Drones, Violators Could Do Jail Time

GREAT NECK ESTATES, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- A village board on Long Island has voted to ban drones.

As CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reported, Great Neck Estates has turned itself into a 'no drone zone.'

The law in Great Neck Estates bans all unmanned aircraft, including model planes. Violators could face a fine of up to $500.

Resident Carol Frank applauds the village board for approving the ban. She had a drone land right on her front lawn.

"I'm not particularly, myself, that concerned about someone trying to spy on me, but I am concerned about the safety aspect," she told WCBS 880's Sophia Hall.

Eva Cale said a large drone recently hovered outside of her house.

"I thought it was coming through my window. It was so close," she said.

Now, the one square mile village has taken a big step. Citing concerns over safety and privacy officials voted to ban drones from village air space.

Drones are regulated by the FAA, but that hasn't stopped local governments from taking on the billion dollar industry.

In December, the Federal Aviation Administration announced a new drone registration process aimed at helping federal officials keep track of the growing number of drone owners.

Huntington prohibits drones being flown on someone's private property without their knowledge, and Suffolk County bans all summer drone flights over beaches.

At Dowling College, however, enrollment in a new drone minor is booming and the dean cautioned against hasty regulations.

"Those type of rules are almost unenforceable," Tom Daly, Dean of Aviation said.

He called the technology 'unstoppable,' and said regulations are often driven by fear of the unknown.

"Everyone is afraid they'll be turned in for their illegal deck, or someone will be looking in their window. We don't really need a drone for that to happen," he said.

Educators are pushing for better training.

"That's the problem in the industry. That anyone can take it out and do what they want with it," Jim Record, professor of aviation said.

But no longer in Great Neck Estates. The new law could even shut down drone use in real estate listings.

"It shows the neighborhood, the parks, and the pools and when our drone guy does it they get permission from everyone," real estate broker Edna Marshaal said.

Great Neck Estates officials said teens were responsible for two incidents that prompted the ban.

Violators could face fines up to $500 or 15 days in jail.


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