Judge overturns local law that effectively banned drones over small town

Enlarge (credit: Andrew Turner)

A federal judge in Massachusetts has struck down four key portions of a 2016 municipal ordinance in Newton, a Boston suburb which effectively banned drones.

The lawsuit, which was filed in January 2017 by a local doctor, involves a question that has yet to be fully resolved in the age of increasingly pervasive and inexpensive drones: how much can localities restrict them?

The Newton law, which was passed in December 2016, among other provisions, specifically bans drone flights over private property at or below 400 feet without the property owner’s permission. The law also requires that all drones be registered with the city and that drones not overfly schools, city property, or sporting events without specific permission.

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