Town of Bethany Beach, DE
Sussex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Adopted 6-17-2016 by Ord. No. 524]
A. 
Definitions. As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
AIRCRAFT
Any contrivance invented, used or designed to navigate or fly in the air.
COMMERCIAL
For pay, profit or any form of compensation and includes but is not limited to the use of small umanned aircraft to further any commercial enterprise.
FIREARM
Has the meaning ascribed to the term as set forth in 11 Del. C. § 222(12).
HOBBY OR RECREATIONAL PURPOSES
A pursuit engaged in for relaxation, and not for business purposes and not for compensation or hire.
OPERATE
To pilot, steer, direct, fly or manage a small unmanned aircraft through the air whether from within the aircraft or remotely. The term "operate" includes managing or initiating a computer system that pilots, steers, directs, flies or manages a small unmanned aircraft.
OUTDOOR ASSEMBLY
Includes but is not limited to bandstand, beach, boardwalk, public swimming pools, special events, parades.
PUBLIC AIRCRAFT
Has the meaning ascribed to the term in Section 40102 of Title 49 of the United States Code.
SMALL UNMANNED AIRCRAFT
An aircraft that: 1) is operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft; and 2) weighs less than 55 pounds at the time of the operation, including the weight of any payload or fuel. The term "small unmanned aircraft" includes drones but does not include "toy aircraft" or "public aircraft" as defined herein.
SURVEILLANCE
The gathering, without permission and in a manner that is offensive to a reasonable person, of visual images, physical impressions, sound recordings, data or other information involving the private, personal, business or familial activities of another person, business or entity, or that otherwise intrudes upon the privacy, solitude or seclusion of another person, business or entity, regardless of whether a physical trespass onto real property owned, leased or otherwise lawfully occupied by such other person, business or other entity, or into the airspace above real property owned, leased or otherwise lawfully occupied by such other person, business or other entity, occurs in connection with such surveillance.
TOWN AIRSPACE
The airspace above the land, water and waterways within the jurisdiction of the Town.
(1) 
A glider or handtossed small unmanned aircraft that is not designed for and is incapable of sustained flight; or
(2) 
A small unmanned aircraft that is capable of sustained flight and is controlled by means of a physical attachment, such as a string or wire.
WEAPON
Any instrument, article or substance that, under the circumstances in which it is used, attempted to be used or threatened to be used, is readily capable of causing death or serious physical injury.
B. 
Operating regulations. Except as otherwise provided in Subsection C of this section, no person shall operate any small unmanned aircraft in Town airspace:
(1) 
Except for hobby, recreational or permitted commercial purposes only and in conformity with this section;
(2) 
Directly over any person who is not involved in the operation of the small unmanned aircraft, without such person's consent;
(3) 
Over property that the operator does not own, without the property owner's consent, and subject to any restrictions that the property owner may place on such operation;
(4) 
At an altitude higher than 400 feet above ground level;
(5) 
Outside the visual line of sight of the operator. The operator shall use his or her own natural vision (which includes vision corrected by standard eyeglasses or contact lenses) to maintain at all times an unobstructed view of the small unmanned aircraft, without the use of vision-enhancing devices, such as binoculars, night vision goggles, powered vision magnifying devices, goggles designed to provide a "first person view" from the model or similar devices; in a manner that interferes with, or fails to give way to, any manned aircraft;
(6) 
Between dusk and dawn;
(7) 
Whenever weather conditions impair the operator's ability to operate the small unmanned aircraft safely;
(8) 
Over any outdoor assembly, place of worship, police station, public right-of-way, beach, boardwalk, boardwalk plaza, waterway, public thoroughfare or land zoned MORE within the corporate limits of the Town of Bethany Beach;
(9) 
Within 50 feet of the water plant or within 25 feet of any electric distribution facility or of any overhead wire, cable, conveyor or similar equipment for the transmission of sounds or signal, or of heat, light or power, or data, upon or along any public way within the Town, without the facility or equipment owner's consent, and subject to any restrictions that the facility or equipment owner may place on such operation;
(10) 
For the purpose of conducting surveillance, unless expressly permitted by law;
(11) 
While under the influence of alcohol (as defined in Title 21, Section 4169, of the Delaware Code) or other drug or drugs, intoxicating compound or compounds or any combination thereof;
(12) 
That is equipped with a firearm or other weapon;
(13) 
With intent to use such small unmanned aircraft or anything attached to it to cause harm to persons or property;
(14) 
In a reckless or careless manner; or
(15) 
In violation of any federal or state law.
C. 
Small unmanned aircraft may be operated for commercial purposes with the issuance of a permit by the Code Compliance Officer. Permitting will require proof of FAA small unmanned aircraft registration and a specific identifier for the aircraft. Aircraft operators will require an FAA certificate of waiver (COA). Permits will be issued on a daily basis and require the day, date, location and purpose of the proposed flight and will be valid for 24 hours from issuance. Commercial flight of small unmanned aircraft, unless otherwise permitted, is regulated by § 212-6B of this Town Code.
D. 
Operations authorized by the FAA; exception. Notwithstanding the prohibitions set forth in this section, nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit, limit or otherwise restrict any person who is authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration to operate a small unmanned aircraft in Town air space, pursuant to Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 or a certificate of waiver, certificate of authorization or airworthiness certificate under Section 44704 of Title 49 of the United States Code or other Federal Aviation Administration grant of authority for a specific flight operation(s), from conducting such operation(s) in accordance with the authority granted by the Federal Aviation Administration.
E. 
Operations prohibited by the FAA; clarification. Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize the operation of any small unmanned aircraft in Town airspace in violation of any federal statute or rules promulgated thereunder, including, but not limited to, any temporary flight restrictions or notices to airmen issued by the Federal Aviation Administration.
F. 
This article shall not prohibit the use of unmanned aircraft systems by any law enforcement agency of the Town of Bethany, and/or any town, state or federal governments or their agents for lawful purposes and in a lawful manner.
G. 
Seizure for unlawful use. If a duly authorized enforcement officer or designee has a reasonable basis to believe that any small unmanned aircraft is or has been operating in violation of this section, said small unmanned aircraft may be seized by such duly authorized enforcement official, followed by an opportunity for an administrative hearing, with notice to the owner within seven calendar days of such seizure, for the purpose of reviewing the appropriateness of the seizure, and shall be held by the Town until such time that the owner of such small unmanned aircraft reimburses the Town for the actual cartage costs incurred in connection with the seizure and pays to the Town $20 for each day, or part of a day, that the small unmanned aircraft is in storage. If criminal charges involving the use, condition or operation of the small unmanned aircraft are pending, the small unmanned aircraft shall be held until disposition of the criminal charges. If it is determined at an administrative hearing, by a preponderance of evidence, that the seized small unmanned aircraft was not operated in violation of this section, such small unmanned aircraft shall be returned to its owner without charge.
Any person violating this article shall, upon conviction, pay such fine as set out in Chapter 1, General Provisions, Article I, Penalties.