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Town Of Hempstead Considers Banning Drones At Beaches, Parks, Pools, Golf Courses

POINT LOOKOUT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- One town on Long Island is considering banning drones in public spaces.

If approved, the ban would make it illegal to fly a drone in Town of Hempstead beaches, parks, pools or golf courses, WCBS 880's Sophia Hall reported.

"Residents need to be kept safe, free of the noise and nuisance," Town Supervisor Anthony Santino said. "Many of our facilities have changing rooms that are roofless. ... People come and change into bathing suits or will dress little children, and they don't need drones equipped with cameras peering overhead."

"The thing flies low overhead," Santino told CBS2's Esha Ray. "It can take very sharp and clear pictures, and we just don't want them on our beaches, at our pools, where people are there enjoying themselves with their families enjoying a beautiful day."

In October, Santino said a drone being using for photography crashed into a business on Main Street in Sag Harbor and burst into flames.

"This is just one example -- and there are many -- of drones that have posed a real hazard and created a real hazard," Santino said.

There are also concerns about drones disturbing wildlife.

"We have so many endangered birds that nest here on our beaches during the summer months," Santino said.

Under the ban, violators would face fines of up to $1,500.

A public hearing on the issue is set for June 7.

Residents are already sounding off.

"I see drones on the beach when I'm sitting here with my family, and you know, you're worried about your safety," said Matt Thompson, of Point Lookout. "You're worried about your privacy. You take off your T-shirt or something, and you may not feel comfortable."


Some, however, aren't so quick to agree.

Jes Chosid, CEO of Reign Maker Visual Communication, a firm that uses drones to help companies monitor work sites from above, said if disaster were to strike, the possibilities with drones would far outweigh the consequences.

"So imagine in an emergency situation where you have to find survivors, and you're able to very quickly send drones out there to see where the heat areas are," she said.

Santino said he understands those concerns, which is why his proposal would allow permits issued by the town to serious flyers.

There is no federal law banning drones from the skies, but the Federal Aviation Administration mandates that drones be registered with the government.

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