The New York Police Department (N.Y.P.D.) is putting forth a proposal to establish a permitting system that allows members of the public to apply for launching or landing drones within New York City. To discuss the proposed rules, the N.Y.P.D. will conduct a public hearing on Friday, July 7, at 10 a.m. The hearing will take place at the auditorium of One Police Plaza, situated at Madison and Pearl Streets.
Currently, New York City strictly prohibits the operation of drones, including take-offs and landings, except in specific public parks outside of Manhattan. Section 10-126(c) of the New York City Administrative Code states that taking off or landing an aircraft within city limits, except in emergencies or at designated landing areas approved by the Department of Transportation or the Port Authority of New York, is illegal.
Nevertheless, certain city agencies, such as the Fire Department and Buildings Department, employ unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for tasks like fire monitoring, fire damage inspections, and building safety assessments. One potential application being explored is the use of drones for building facade inspections. Local Law 11 mandates that buildings taller than six stories undergo facade inspections every five years to ensure safety.
The impetus for the public hearing appears to be a federal lawsuit filed in 2021 by Xizmo Media Productions LLC against New York City. The lawsuit argues that the Federal Aviation Administration, not the city, has jurisdiction over the airspace and contends that the drone ban infringes on the First Amendment.
Individuals interested in providing comments during the public hearing must sign up in advance. To register, one can call 646-610-5400 and ask for Melanie Braverman or email their name and affiliation to NYCRules@nypd.org by June 30. While attendees at the hearing will have the option to provide impromptu comments, the police department encourages prior sign-up. Each speaker will be allotted a maximum of three minutes to share their views.
Additionally, people can submit comments to the N.Y.P.D. through the NYC rules website at rules.cityofnewyork.us or via email at NYCRules@NYPD.org. Written comments may be sent by mail to the N.Y.P.D. Legal Bureau at One Police Plaza, Room 1406, New York, NY 10038, c/o Agency Attorney Melanie Braverman.