Chapter 8.98


8.98.010    Purpose.

8.98.020    Definitions.

8.98.030    Geographical zones of activity.

8.98.040    Prohibited activity.

8.98.050    Civil liability for enforcement services.

8.98.060    Reimbursement for costs of enforcement services.

8.98.070    Violations.

8.98.080    Reservation of legal options.

8.98.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to prohibit persons from launching into flight, operating, and landing following flight, drones (as defined herein) during such times that the City of Poway is experiencing an emergency response, as defined herein. (Ord. 780 § 1, 2015)

8.98.020 Definitions.

As used in this chapter:

A. “Director” is defined as the Director of Safety Services, or such person designated by the City Manager or Director of Safety Services to act in the capacity of Director.

B. “Drone” is defined as an unmanned aircraft system, or an unmanned aerial vehicle, also known as remotely piloted aerial systems, used for either recreational or commercial purposes; which carries a payload consisting of one or more cameras for still pictures, video recording, or video streaming purposes; which may be a fully-automated flying vehicle or in a communication link and responsive to operator control and direction; and is carrying its own source of power; and is in communication with the operator by way of external control, remote systems. For the purposes of this chapter any drone operated by local, State or Federal law enforcement or emergency response personnel while acting in their official capacities shall not be included in this definition.

C. “Emergency response” means situations where a City, County, State, or Federal governmental agency, or any combination thereof, has initiated fire, paramedic, ambulance, or law enforcement services in response to an existing or threatened incident located within the City or within two miles of the City limits, involving a wildfire, structure fire, flooding, seismic activity, accident, or criminal activity, which could require the use of airplanes, helicopters, or drones to provide assessment of conditions or actual emergency services to aid victims, transport persons or animals, suppress fires, or investigate or intervene in criminal activity.

D. “Enforcement officer” means any officer or employee of the City, and any law enforcement officer employed by the San Diego County Sheriff’s office, with the authority to enforce the Poway Municipal Code, including but not limited to a code compliance officer, inspector, deputy sheriff, and the Fire Marshal.

E. “Exempt drones” are defined as those drones owned or operated by (1) any local, State, or Federal agency while acting in their official capacities; and (2) any public utility as defined in this chapter, but only when used to assess and inspect the public utility’s facilities during a period of emergency response and with the consent of the Director.

F. “Land” or “landing” means the controlled or uncontrolled return of a drone to the ground or to any structure, vehicle, or person located on the earth’s surface. For the purpose of this definition a person is located on the earth’s surface regardless of whether the person is in actual physical contact with the earth at the time of landing.

G. “Launch” means to set forth a drone into flight.

H. “Operation,” for the purposes of this chapter, includes, but is not limited to, controlling a drone before, during, or after its flight into airspace. “Operation” can include active control of a drone in flight, controlling the flight of a drone based on pre-programmed instructions, or altering a pre-programmed flight of a drone, all handled remotely from the ground.

I. “Public utility” is defined as any gas corporation, electrical corporation, telephone corporation, telegraph corporation, water corporation, and sewer system corporation, each as defined in the Public Utilities Act of the State of California (Part 1 of Division 1 of the California Public Utilities Code, Section 201 et seq.).

J. “Quadrant” shall mean one of the four geographical zones in the City of Poway identified in PMC 8.98.030, each based upon public streets. Where a street that identifies a portion of a boundary of a quadrant terminates, its definition shall include all such property that would be included within the quadrant if the streets had extended in prolongations to the City limits.

K. “Restricted” shall mean that certain drone activity is temporarily prohibited by this chapter. (Ord. 780 § 1, 2015)

8.98.030 Geographical zones of activity.

For the purposes of this chapter, during those periods of emergency response designated by the Director, the City shall be divided into four quadrants as follows:

A. Quadrant A: the northern portion of the City bounded by Espola Road and Green Valley Truck Trail to the south.

B. Quadrant B: the eastern portion of the City bounded by the east- and west-bound portions of Green Valley Truck Trail to the north, the north- and south-bound portions of Espola Road and Poway Road to the west, and Garden Road and Sycamore Canyon Road to the south.

C. Quadrant C: the southern portion of the City bounded by Poway Road and Garden Road to the north and Sycamore Canyon Road to the east.

D. Quadrant D: the western portion of the City bounded by Poway Road to the south, the north- and south-bound portions of Poway Road and Espola Road to the east, and the east- and west-bound portions of Espola Road to the north. (Ord. 780 § 1, 2015)

8.98.040 Prohibited activity.

No person shall launch, land, or operate a drone while that person is located in any quadrant identified by the Director as a restricted quadrant during any period of emergency response. The Director may identify one or more, including all, quadrants as restricted during any emergency response. This prohibition shall not apply to the operator of any exempt drone. (Ord. 780 § 1, 2015)

8.98.050 Civil liability for enforcement services.

Whenever a person launches, operates, or lands a drone in a restricted quadrant and a peace officer or code enforcement officer is called to the scene, the person or persons having control of the drone shall be liable for the cost of providing enforcement services during the response by enforcement officers, and any follow-up response by enforcement officers. (Ord. 780 § 1, 2015)

8.98.060 Reimbursement for costs of enforcement services.

The actual cost of enforcement services described in PMC 8.98.050 shall be deemed a debt owed to the City, and if not paid, may be recoverable in a civil action, and shall be recoverable in a civil action, including reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs. (Ord. 780 § 1, 2015)

8.98.070 Violations.

A violation of any provision of this chapter or a failure to comply with any mandatory requirement of this chapter is subject to prosecution in accordance with Chapter 1.08 PMC and may be enforced through injunctive relief. Penalties for violation of the provisions of this chapter may result in a misdemeanor citation, punishable by a maximum of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. In addition to any other remedies found in this code any person found to violate this chapter shall be subject to civil penalties in the amount of $1,000 for each and every offense. (Ord. 780 § 1, 2015)

8.98.080 Reservation of legal options.

The City of Poway does not waive its right to seek reimbursement for actual costs of enforcement services through other legal remedies or procedures. The procedure provided for in this chapter is in addition to any other statute, ordinance or law, civil or criminal. This chapter in no way limits the authority of peace officers or private citizens to make arrests for any criminal offense arising out of conduct regulated by this chapter. (Ord. 780 § 1, 2015)