The city of Orlando, Florida recently issued a new drone ordinance aiming to “promote hobbyists and commercial use of unmanned aircraft” while “balancing the paramount need to protect the well-being, tranquility and privacy of its citizens.” The ordinance restricts the use of drones (i.e., the launch, landing or operation) at or near city property: 500 feet of a venue, outdoor public assembly, event with more than 1,000 people and county/municipal detention facility. The ordinance defines “venue” as “a building or structure designed as a venue by the executive director of Orlando Venues or the city council” (e.g., the Mennello Museum of American Art, Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts). In addition, drones cannot be launched, landed or operated within 500 feet of public and private schools, unless the school has given express permission to do so. This ordinance also applies to areas within 500 feet of “an enclosed building owned or operated by the City of Orlando” (e.g., police headquarters, city hall) and within 500 feet of a park, again, unless a park official has given consent for such use. Operators may obtain a permit to fly in these restricted areas for $20 per flight or for $150 per year.

Ordinances like this, and many other city-by-city drone operation rules, make it difficult to operate a drone for legitimate commercial purposes. The lesson here is to keep up with local drone regulations and ordinances before you fly and to continue to check the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) website for other restrictions on federal airspace.