Raleigh Public Park Drone Policy Nearing Final Approval

Last week, the City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources Department approved a new unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) policy, which regulates the use of drones and model aircraft in the city’s public parks. This policy is headed to the full Parks, Recreation and Greenway Advisory Board for final approval, which is expected to be completed soon.

It’s important to note that this new UAS policy in Raleigh is a modified version of an earlier draft that included operational and altitude restrictions on hobbyists. After extensive discussions and input from AMA and other UAS stakeholders, the Department removed these problematic elements of the proposed policy. You can learn more about the earlier drafts of the policy and the restrictions on hobbyists AMA fought hard to prevent, in an op-ed by Jay Marsh, AMA Vice President for District IV, published in the News & Observer last summer.

We want to thank the Department for taking seriously our concerns with the original draft and making appropriate adjustments. These changes removed unnecessary and burdensome regulation that would have negatively impacted AMA’s local members.

It is important for AMA members in the area to know that if you are flying a model that weighs more than 400 grams, you are limited to flying at these six parks in Raleigh: Baileywick, Dorothea Dix, Eastgate, Marsh Creek, Southgate and Spring Forest. Models that weigh under 400 grams can fly in any park. While this policy does not allow flights in all parks for heavier models, it is a step in the right direction.

As it stands, the policy has been sent to the full Parks, Recreation and Greenway Advisory Board for final approval. We expect the Board to accept and approve this policy in their meeting this coming spring. At this meeting, we also expect the Board to take comments from the public. The date for this meeting has not been determined, but if you would like to attend, we have included contact information for the Board below.

Parks, Recreation and Greenway Advisory Board
Raleigh Municipal Building Council Chambers
222 W. Hargett Street
Raleigh, NC 27601
Phone: 919-996-3285

AMA Government Affairs Team