The Town of Orchard Park, New York, recently rescinded a local ordinance restricting the use of UAVs/UASs, also known as drones, around New Era Field, which is home to the Buffalo Bills NFL team. Town Council members unanimously voted to rescind the ordinance, as it would have likely been preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration's regulations about UAVs/UASs usage if it were challenged in court. Although the ordinance has now been rescinded, the town board plans to enact a new ordinance concerning drone usage, and officials have been working with the FAA to devise a new local law.

Previously, a recreational drone user attracted national attention when he was arrested on September 5, 2017, while operating a UAV/UAS over the bus parking lot of New Era Field before a concert. The recreational user is currently scheduled to appear in court in December, but Town of Orchard Park officials have stated that the charges will likely be dropped due to the potential conflict with federal law.

This situation demonstrates the many potential pitfalls of operating and regulating UAV/UAS usage in compliance with federal, state, and local laws.

To learn more about the Orchard Park drone ordinance: