[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Township of Robinson9-10-2018 by Ord. No. 4-2018. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Editor's Note: This ordinance was originally adopted as Ch. 301 but was renumbered for organizational purposes.
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Small Noncommercial UA."
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated, unless the context specifically and clearly indicates otherwise:
- Any contrivance invented, used, or designed to navigate or fly in the air.
- The Pittsburgh International Airport ( PIT).
- AIRPORT AUTHORITY
- The Allegheny County Airport Authority, which is the operator of the airport, or any successor entity thereof.
- ENFORCEMENT ACTION
- Any action taken under this chapter for an alleged violation of the same.
- FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION (FAA)
- The Federal Aviation Administration of the United States Department of Transportation or any agency successor thereto.
- INCOMPATIBLE LAND USE
- Use of land within the Township boundaries that poses an undue hazard to manned aircraft departing and arriving at the airport, and/or to persons or property on the ground.
- LARGE COMMERCIAL UA
- An unmanned aircraft that weighs 55 pounds or more on takeoff, including everything that is on board or otherwise attached to the unmanned aircraft, and is used for a purpose other than a recreational or hobby purpose.
- MANNED AIRCRAFT
- Any aircraft operated by the input of a person who is onboard the aircraft.
- Includes the taking off, landing, or otherwise manipulating flight controls of a UA.
- An individual person or a company, or other duly organized and authorized entity, but not including the Township, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the United States, or an individual person acting in an official capacity thereof.
- PIT UAS MAP
- The Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Map attached hereto and incorporated herein as Exhibit "A".
- SAFETY-CRITICAL LAND
- The land within the boundaries reflected on the PIT UAS Map designated "safety-critical land" or which has been later designated as "safety-critical land" via notice issued by the Township or the Airport Authority.
- SMALL NONCOMMERCIAL UA
- An unmanned aircraft operated for hobby or recreational purposes and which is not operated by a certified remote pilot and/or pursuant to Part 107 of the Federal Aviation Regulations.
- UNMANNED AIRCRAFT (UA)
- An aircraft that is operated by a person via a ground control system, or autonomously through use of an on-board computer, communication links and any additional equipment that is necessary for the UA to operate.
- UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS (UAS) RESTRICTED LAND
- The entire Township or an area that has been later designated as "UAS restricted land" via notice issued by the Township or the Airport Authority.
Editor's Note: Said exhibit is on file in the Township offices.
The purpose of this chapter is to address issues related to use of unmanned aircraft from ground-based locations within the boundaries of the Township, in consideration of the following:
Congress has prohibited the FAA from promulgating binding and enforceable rules and/or regulations governing the recreational or hobby operation of small noncommercial UA, more commonly referred to as "drones;"
The Township has a proprietary interest in the real property constituting the UAS restricted land and has an interest in protecting life and property belonging to its citizens who live and work within the UAS restricted land;
The Township has traditionally had the responsibility and jurisdiction to regulate matters that occur from ground situated within its boundaries and below the minimum safe altitude for manned aircraft for the protection thereof;
The Airport Authority is obligated by federal law to operate its airport in a safe and serviceable condition, and to take appropriate action to assure that terminal airspace as is required to protect instrument and visual operations to the airport (including established minimum flight altitudes) will be adequately cleared and protected by mitigating exiting airport hazards and by preventing the establishment of future airport hazards;
The Township and the Airport Authority have historically worked together to ensure that the land within the Township boundaries was compatible with airport operations by land use regulations and approval, and the parties wish to continue that cooperative history in preventing incompatible land use within the Township boundaries;
The Township desires to take affirmative action for the protection of life and property within its boundaries;
The educational and legally nonbinding guidance provided by various entities is insufficient to protect the Township's interest in the property within its boundaries and within the UAS restricted land, and is likewise insufficient to protect the Airport Authority's proprietary rights in ownership and operation of the airport or fulfill the Airport Authority's obligations;
The proliferation of unmanned aircraft has given rise to the need to protect the land situated and under flights departing and arriving at the airport, as well as the land on which the airport sits;
The FAA has called upon law enforcement agencies to deter, detect, investigate, and, as appropriate, pursue enforcement actions to stop unauthorized operations; and
The Township has the power and authority to regulate matters occurring on the land situated within its boundaries.
No person shall operate a small noncommercial UA from a ground-based location within the Township boundaries that is situated within safety-critical land.
No person shall operate a small noncommercial UA from a ground-based location within the Township that is situated within UAS restricted land but is not situated within safety-critical land, unless the person provides notice of the proposed operation to the Airport Authority, and the Airport Authority approves of such operation.
No person shall operate an unmanned aircraft within the geographical boundaries of the Township in violation of (a) an agreement between that person and the Township, the Airport Authority, or the FAA; or (b) any term, condition, directive, or applicable regulation imposed by the FAA, including but not limited to 14 CFR Part 101, Subpart E; 14 CFR Part 107; or (c) the terms of any waiver or special authorization issued by the FAA.
No person shall operate a small noncommercial UA that is required to be registered with the FAA, unless the small noncommercial UA is marked and registered in accordance with the applicable Federal Aviation Regulations.
Any person, firm, or corporation who shall violate any provision of this chapter, or fails to comply therewith, or with any of the requirements thereof, upon conviction thereof in a action brought before a Magisterial District Judge in the manner provided for the enforcement of summary offenses under the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedures, shall be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000 plus costs, including reasonable attorney fees incurred by the Township, and, in default of payment of said fine and costs, to a term of imprisonment to the extent permitted by law for the punishment of summary offenses. A separate offense shall arise for each day of portion thereof in which a violation of this chapter is found to exist and for each section of this chapter found to have been violated. Further, each flight, take-off, or landing in violation of this chapter shall constitute a separate offense. The Township may also commence appropriate actions in equity or other to prevent, restrain, correct, enjoin, or abate violations of this chapter. All fines and penalties collected for violations of this chapter shall be paid to the Township Treasurer. The initial determination of chapter violation is hereby delegated to the Township Manager, the Police Department, the Code Official, the authorized designee of the Township Manager, and to any other officer or agent that the Township Manager or the Board of Commissioners shall deem appropriate.
After conferring with the Airport Authority, the Township or the Airport Authority may:
Refer the matter to the FAA for investigation and enforcement action under applicable laws and regulations;
Refer the matter to the United States Attorney's Office or the Federal Bureau of Investigation for investigation and enforcement under applicable laws and regulations; and/or
Refer the matter to the Allegheny County District Attorney for prosecution under applicable state laws.
The Township, in its sole discretion, shall, via the Township Manager or Township Police Department, have the authority to prohibit the flight of small noncommercial unmanned aircraft during an emergency or at any time the Township deems it in the public interest.
This chapter is intended to be a lawful exercise of the Township's police and regulatory powers available to it under applicable state and federal law. Nothing in this chapter is intended to, nor does it actually, impede or conflict with any federal law, FAA-issued restrictions or powers of the FAA to bring any action to enforce any applicable federal law or regulation or issue penalties or take any other action that the FAA is authorized to take under federal law and applicable regulations.
In the event that the FAA initiates an enforcement action or other proceeding against any person who is also in violation of this chapter, upon written request of the FAA, the Township shall suspend any pending enforcement action for a period of not less than 60 days. After the expiration of such suspension of enforcement proceedings, the Township may proceed with any appropriate actions including pursuit of penalties authorized by this chapter. Such penalties shall be in addition to any such action taken by the FAA.
If, at any time, the FAA amends existing rules and regulations or enacts new rules and regulations regarding the operation of small noncommercial UA, the Township shall have the right to amend this chapter accordingly.
To the extent any portion of this chapter is, for whatever reason, found to be invalid, the remaining portions shall remain in full force and effect unless and until modified by the Township by subsequent enactment.