Drones! Does your HOA need rules addressing Drones?


It seems like they’re everywhere these days: on the news, in hobby stores, and now possibly in your own backyard. Drones have been attracting a lot of attention in the last few years, along with some criticism from certain HOA’s.

And now with some drones being less than a hundred dollars on Amazon, it is very possible that you could see them flying around in your neighborhood. So where do you stand on the issue? And how much do you really know?

What’s the issue with drones?

Some homeowners believe the drones to be a nuisance to the neighborhood, and consider it an invasion of privacy to have a drone flying over their house and potentially recording video of homeowners in their backyards or peering in homeowner windows like a 21st century peeping Tom.

Privacy aside, some homeowners have issues with the noise pollution from buzzing remote control drones flying overhead, or safety concerns with drones or spinning propellers causing damage to children, pets, or property.

Many cheap drones are relatively harmless, with no cameras or harmful rotors. However, like all things, the more money you spend the more quality you get. Some hobby drones can include hi-tech video transmitters, cameras, and alarms. This kind of tech flying around the neighborhood usually sparks the debate of whether drones should be banned or restricted by the HOA.

How HOA’s are reacting to drones

Homeowner concerns usually drive HOA board action, but with drones the potential liability arising from *not* addressing drone use has driven some HOAs to create proactive resrictions or bans.  

HOAs have the power to ban almost anything that is a bother to homeowners. By making an amendment to the governing documents, drones could be disallowed in varying degrees whether that means certain types of drones are banned, or drones that fly at a certain altitude, etc.

Drone rules can be much more complicated than they appear on the surface.  Amazon has announced that in the future it may use unmanned drones to deliver packages to individual houses.  HOA rules governing homeowners hobby drone use might not be sufficient to ban institutional drone use by governments or corporations.  Checking with a lawyer might be necessary. 

What you can do to restrict drones in your HOA?

If you feel strongly that drones should be disallowed or restricted in your HOA, form a strong, well-educated argument of your perspective to present to your HOA board. If there are others who agree with you, join forces. The more people on board with an idea, the more momentum you have for making change happen. Remember that when making change in your HOA, it is important to see the other party’s point of view. Perhaps then, a compromise can be reached that allows hobbyists to fly drones and homeowners feeling safe in their neighborhood.

Technology has evolved in the last hundred years faster than ever before. With drones, artificial intelligences, and basic droids, the technology of  Star Trek doesn’t seem that far off anymore. However, we must keep in mind the comfort and security of our neighbors and friends, and act accordingly.

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Source: Neighborhood Link - Sabrina Robinson
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