City may let drone ban expire


Evanston aldermen tonight are scheduled to get a report from the city’s corporation counsel that recommends letting Evanston’s two year moratorium on commercial use of drones expire at the end of this month.

Since the local moratorium was adopted, Corporation Counsel Grant Farrar says in his memo, the Federal Aviation Administration has issued extensive rules and procedures to regulate unmanned aircraft systems and issue certifications to those seeking to use drones for commercial, private and governmental purposes.

The federal agency has started issuing certifications under those rules, including one recently to a Chicago photographer who plans to use drones for news gathering.

The drone ban had been pushed by anti-war activists, among others, who voiced fears about weaponized drones being used by police. Aldermen adopted it on a 5-4 vote, with opponents suggesting that drones could have positive uses and that they didn’t want to discourage new technologies.

The state legislature has also imposed a variety of restrictions on the use of drones by police. 

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