Effective date:  September 18, 2019

WHEREAS, advances in Unmanned Aircraft technology have empowered individuals to document, the world around them, in ways that oftentimes replace more hazardous operations; and

WHEREAS, Randolph County supports innovation and wants to be a home to innovative companies and ideas; and

WHERAS, after studying various alternatives for regulation of safety, privacy, nuisance, trespass, related police power, and zoning issues raised by Unmanned Aircraft, and taking account the approaches adopted by government bodies across the nation, which include criminalizing or prohibiting the use of unmanned aircraft; and

WHEREAS, Randolph County recognizes legitimate concerns raised by unmanned aircraft (drones) regarding safety, privacy, nuisance, and trespass, can be addressed largely through existing laws; and

WHERAS, the difficulty of identifying drone’s operators raises concerns regarding enforcement of existing laws and tying unmanned aircraft operators to their devices; and

WHEREAS; the county has exclusive authority over land use and zoning decisions within the county, and multiple court precedents protect the ability of counties to regulate such activities that take place upon County land, including take-off and landing aircraft; and

WHEREAS, Unmanned Aircraft are part of an unmanned aircraft system that is operated from land; and

WHEREAS, the FAA has declared that State and Local Governments have historically been able to regulate the take-offs and landings of aircraft within their boundaries; and

WHEREAS, the FAA has declared that, depending on the specific nature of the small Unmanned Aircraft operation, the remote pilot in command may need to comply with State and Local trespassing rules; and

WHEREAS the FAA has declared that “Laws traditionally related to state and local police power including land use, zoning, privacy, trespass, and law enforcement operations – generally are not subject to Federal Regulation”; and

WHEREAS, the FAA has declared that the operation of unmanned Aircraft near or over the perimeter or interior of certain locations may violate State or Local trespassing laws; and

WHEREAS, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), BEST practices for UAV transparency and accountability recommend drone operators should not operate Unmanned Aircraft over or within private property without consent of the property owner or without appropriate legal authority; and

WHEREAS, public safety professionals have expressed significant concerns regarding the risks posed by unmanned aircraft to public safety, and the difficulty of identifying drone operators who interfere with public safety operations; and

WHEREAS, advances in technology now allow a means to balance innovation and address all of the above statutes, land use, safety, nuisance, privacy, and trespass concerns;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT ORDAINED by the Randolph County Commission;

That the Randolph County Commission acting under the authority of Section 304.013 RSMO does adopt and order implementation of this Ordinance; and that this ordinance does ordain, adopt, and implement the following:

Section 1 – Purpose

Randolph County encourages the safe and responsible use of Unmanned Aircraft.  This ordinance is designed to empower innovation while protecting and promoting the health, safety, and welfare of its citizens.

Section 2 – Definition.

An “Unmanned Aircraft” shall mean an aircraft operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft.  This definition includes devices commonly referred to as drones, remote controlled aircraft, and model aircraft.

Section 3 – Development of Rules.

In addition to the specific requirements set forth below, the county directs and delegates the authority to development rules for the operation of Unmanned Aircraft within the boundaries of the county, consistent with this ordinance,  The county must publish such rules on the county website, or through  other equivalent internet accessible systems, and must periodically report to the commission at least once per year on the implementation of such rules, including information regarding enforcement actions and the costs associated with implementing and enforcing such rules.  The rules developed by the County Commission must be consistent with the following:

  1. The County Commission may adopt reasonable restrictions on the time, place, and manner in which a person may land, launch, or otherwise operate an unmanned Aircraft so as to not interfere with the health, safety, and welfare of individuals within the county.  Such restrictions may not place an undue burden on recreational or commercial operations of unmanned Aircraft.  To ensure that restrictions are easily accessible by Unmanned Aircraft operators, such restrictions should be published on the counties website or through other equivalent internet accessible systems.
  2. The County Commission may require certain conditions be fulfilled prior to the take-off landing, or operation of an Unmanned Aircraft from terrain designated lands within boundaries of the county.

Section 4. – Notice of intended operation.

  1. To ensure operations are accountable, no Unmanned aircraft weighing more that 250 grams shall take-off from, land upon, or be operated from any land within the boundaries of the county without the operator first notifying the County Clerk electronically of the intended operation through an internet accessible system to be provided by the County.  The electronically filed notice may contain any or all of the following information as required by this ordinance.

A1.  The name, address, and telephone number of the person or corporation filing the notice and the telephone number at which the operator can be contacted during the operations.

A2.  The take-off and landing location of the operation;

A3.   The expected start and end time of the operation (if the operator intends to        take-off and land multiple times in the same location, one notice for multiple operations may suffice, so long as the duration of the combined operations does not exceed 4 hours, after which a new notice must be filed);

A4.  The purpose of the operation

A5.  A statement affirming that the operator has consulted relevant County rules and  intends to abide by them.

A6.  Such other information as the County Commission shall deem reasonably necessary to inform the county whether the take-off, landing, or operation, will endanger the health, safety, or welfare of persons located within the County and if such use is inconsistent with this ordinance.

  1. Once notice has been electronically filed consistent with Section 4, the operation may commence without any need for action or approval by the county, so long as such operation is consistent with County rules as outlined in Section 3.
  2. Notice pursuant to Section 4 above shall not apply to an operation where the take-off, landing, and operation takes place from an operator’s own private property. Such operation may still be subject to nuisance, privacy, and trespass law violations.

D   The County Commission may designate areas where notice pursuant to this section 4 above is not required.  Examples of such areas may include locations where operations may be encouraged, such as certain parks and/or model aircraft fields.

E   The County will provide a paper-based procedure as an alternative to the electron system specified in this section 4, such system will collect information identical to that specified in this section 4 (A) (1-6).

Section 5 – No Reckless Operation
No Person may operate an Unmanned Aircraft in a reckless manner so as to create (a) a substantial risk of serious physical injury to another or (b) a substantial risk of damage to the property of another.

Section 6 – Penalties.
A person who operates an Unmanned Aircraft without first filing notice, may be punished by a fine, not to exceed $100,

A person found guilty of a reckless operation or operation out of compliance with this ordinance (except for operation without first filing notice), including but not limited to operation an Unmanned Aircraft in violation of any rules developed by the County Commission, may be punished by a fine not to exceed $500.

A person found guilty of operating an Unmanned aircraft over private property flying below 100 feet without the expressed consent of the property owner may be punished by a fine not to exceed $100 for the first offense.  Multiple offense may result in a fine not to exceed $500.

Any person found guilty of operating an Unmanned aircraft hovering over private property shall not hover above any buildings without the express consent of the property owner, punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.
Owners of property having an unmanned aircraft flying over or hovering above their property will be held harmless to any damages to the Unmanned Aircraft.

Any person having an unmanned aircraft incapable of flying that lands or crashes on private property may not go onto the private property without the express consent of the owner.  Contact the Randolph County Sheriff’s office to have the unmanned aircraft retrieved in whole or in part.  Person’s going onto private property to retrieve an unmanned aircraft without consent of the owner or with the assistance of the Sheriff’s office will be punishable by a fine not to exceed $100.  Multiple offenses not to exceed a fine of $500.

Section 7 – Exceptions.

This ordinance does not apply to an unmanned Aircraft that is operated by a government or any public agency for government related to purposes in compliance with all federal laws and regulations and operated in compliance with County policies.

This ordinance does not apply to an unmanned Aircraft flying an easement or property for which the owner of the aircraft is engaged in professional surveillance related to the business of the owner related to purposes in compliance with all federal laws and regulations and operated in compliance with County policies.

  1. RSMO 303 Penalties
  2. Any person, firm, corporation or individual violating any of the provisions of RSMO303, shall be subject to fine and imprisonment as set for RSMO Section 303.00 (General insurance coverage and Penalty Section) of the Revised Statutes of the State of Missouri.
  3. All ordinances or parts of ordinances in conflict herewith are, to the extent of such conflict hereby repealed.
  4. If any clause, word, paragraph, section or other part or portion of this ordinance is held to be invalid, illegal, unlawful, or unconstitutional for Any reason, the Randolph County Commission hereby declares it would nevertheless have enacted the remaining portions thereof; and such remaining portions shall remain in full force and effect.
  5. This ordinance shall be in full force and effect from and after the date of September 18, 2019 and the Randolph County Commission directs the Randolph County Clerk to publish this ordinance.

The County Commission has the right to refuse any application for a Unmanned Aircraft special use permit if the commission feels that such refusal is in the best interest of the citizens of Randolph County.

That this ordinance is adopted on this 19thst day of _September 2019, by action of the Randolph County Commission, to become effective as of September 19, 2019

Adopted by recorded vote as follows: