GREENVILLE — The airspace above the Darke County Fairgrounds is now off limits to drones — unless one first receives permission.
The Darke County Agricultural Society Board of Governors approved a policy banning the use of “remotely controlled devices such as aircraft, cars, etc.” during its Wednesday night meeting.
“Drone ownership and use is increasing,” said Fair Manager Daryl Riffle. “The Darke County Sheriff’s Office suggested we look at a policy of this type. By adopting this policy, we are taking a proactive approach regarding safety both [at] fair and non-fair time.”
The move follows restrictions being enacted by many government and private entities across the country. In December 2015, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced rules requiring nearly all civilian drone owners to register the machines in a national database.
The board’s newly adopted policy states: “No remotely controlled aircraft or ground vehicle devices are authorized to operate on, above or below Darke County Agricultural Society property at any time without the express written consent of the Darke County Agricultural Society and also the proper law enforcement authority.”
“This procedure includes, but is not limited to unmanned aircraft systems, radio controlled model aircraft, other devices that can be operated in airspace and remote controlled cars/ground vehicles.”
“Possession or operation of such remotely controlled aircraft or ground vehicle devices without prior written consent will result in the confiscation of all related materials, removal from Darke County Agricultural Society property, and/or a response from law enforcement authority,” the policy states.
Further, the policy states the board “will notify the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), and/ or any other law enforcement authority deemed necessary of any incidents involving airborne aircraft or any other unauthorized remote controlled ground based vehicles.”
Those staging events at the fairgrounds which require the use of drones or similar devices, however, may do so if prior approval is given by the board and/or law enforcement, according to the adopted policy.
“Events requiring the use of any such prohibited items listed above must receive a prior written notification of approval from the Darke County Agricultural Society or the proper law enforcement authority. Any and all entities requesting to utilize a remotely controlled device must sign the appropriate documentation prior to bringing any such equipment on to, above or below Darke County Agricultural Society property,” it states.