The city of Santa Monica no fly zone

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I recently wanted to fly over some private property in the city of Santa Monica. I received permission from the FAA to fly. I contacted the Santa Monica police and was told it is illegal to fly in the city of Santa Monica. I went and checked the cities ordinances the only one that they have. Was a ordinance that prohibits flying a drone over the beach City parking lots in city parks. I emailed the Santa Monica Police Department for clarification. And was told it was illegal to fly a drone in the city of Santa Monica. Due to its close relationship to the beach parks and schools which I'm nowhere near. They referred me to the Santa Monica Airport. Santa Monica Airport referred me to the FAA. So I absolutely don't know what to do now
 
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Lots of PD have little to no knowledge of the actual laws. And that isn't necessarily their fault.

Aviation law, and especially UAS law, is very hard to keep up with. Many cities just ban them and call is happy. That way they don't have to deal with them.

I suggest you set up a meeting with them and try to work this out. That is actually the very thing I'm doing with a small local PD here in Denver. Lakeside, CO is a very tiny town surrounded by the rest of Denver. They are trying to control the airspace over Lakeside Amusement Park. I'm meeting with the Chief of Police in about 45 minutes.

You can also reach out top the FAA's Law Enforcement Assistance Program FAA Contacts for Law Enforcement
 
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I recently wanted to fly over some private property in the city of Santa Monica. I received permission from the FAA to fly. I contacted the Santa Monica police and was told it is illegal to fly in the city of Santa Monica. I went and checked the cities ordinances the only one that they have. Was a ordinance that prohibits flying a drone over the beach City parking lots in city parks. I emailed the Santa Monica Police Department for clarification. And was told it was illegal to fly a drone in the city of Santa Monica. Due to its close relationship to the beach parks and schools which I'm nowhere near. They referred me to the Santa Monica Airport. Santa Monica Airport referred me to the FAA. So I absolutely don't know what to do now
What they are telling you is ILLEGAL as per Federal regulations. It is very clear that Congress has unilaterally given the FAA the authority to control airspace throughout the USA. The FAA is the one and only entity that can tell you where you can and cannot fly. They control the airspace...PERIOD.

The issues are:
  • Some states, cities, and municipalities believe they can make their own rules governing airspace while in fact they can NOT.
  • Police are very badly informed and not knowledgeable about the rules governing airspace.
  • They hold the power locally and can make your life very difficult. Right or wrong, they can detain you, issue you a summons, arrest you, and confiscate your equipment. The problem is that very few of us are willing to stand up to their deep pockets in order to fight them in court.
What local governments can do is control the LAND under their jurisdiction. So they can indeed tell you that you cannot takeoff or land from specific public property. In those cases you would need to takeoff/land from nearby private property (with owner's permission of course) or from public property where there are no restrictions. Then you can fly over whatever land you like, as long as you are following all FAA regulations for UAS flights.
 
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I recently wanted to fly over some private property in the city of Santa Monica. I received permission from the FAA to fly. I contacted the Santa Monica police and was told it is illegal to fly in the city of Santa Monica. I went and checked the cities ordinances the only one that they have. Was a ordinance that prohibits flying a drone over the beach City parking lots in city parks. I emailed the Santa Monica Police Department for clarification. And was told it was illegal to fly a drone in the city of Santa Monica. Due to its close relationship to the beach parks and schools which I'm nowhere near. They referred me to the Santa Monica Airport. Santa Monica Airport referred me to the FAA. So I absolutely don't know what to do now
The FAA has sole jurisdiction over the National Airspace. The FAA is the only entity that can dictate where you can fly in the air. Any number of government entities can dictate where you can or cannot take off from and land at. If they shut things down as is the case here, there has to be something on the books that states that in writing. It is not up to the Santa Monica airport or the FAA. Call the city's bluff and make em show you the ordinance. If they can't do that then they cannot enforce it.

Here is the official airspace restrictions for the Santa Monica locale:
Santa Monica.JPG


Any questions you may have regarding airspace, the first place to look is FAA UAS Facilities Map
 
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Good Morning Clifton,

Drones are not allowed in the City of Santa Monica due to the close radius of our Airport, beach and schools. Please contact Code Enforcement for further information regarding drones. 310-458-4984.

Thank you






To stay informed on COVID-19 information and recovery in Santa Monica, please subscribe to SM Alerts and SaMo News and follow the City's official Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


City of Santa Monica

1685 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 458-8411

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Good Morning Clifton,

Drones are not allowed in the City of Santa Monica due to the close radius of our Airport, beach and schools. Please contact Code Enforcement for further information regarding drones. 310-458-4984.

Thank you
And that means absolutely nothing!

Airport? Duh! Under FAA jurisdiction and the FAA determines the airspace regulations around and over an airport.

Beach? Um, OK. If you fly over the ocean, you are clear of people and structures. If flying over the beach itself, you cannot at any time fly over people, as per FAA regulations.

Schools? When did Santa Monica get a monopoly on schools? Schools are everywhere! Stay clear of people and you are legal.

They have deflected and not pointed to any laws, regulations, or ordinances that officially prohibit the flying of drones. Contact the Code Enforcement office as they suggested and ask for the exact ordinances that prohibit drone flying.
 
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Good Morning Clifton,

Drones are not allowed in the City of Santa Monica due to the close radius of our Airport, beach and schools. Please contact Code Enforcement for further information regarding drones. 310-458-4984.

Thank you






To stay informed on COVID-19 information and recovery in Santa Monica, please subscribe to SM Alerts and SaMo News and follow the City's official Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


City of Santa Monica
1685 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 458-8411

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Again, the City cannot dictate what is Federal jurisdiction. They can prevent you from taking off from City land within their city limits but that is as far as it goes. Santa Monica is a LAANC airport. THEY will have a say whether or not you are able to fly within their airspace but I would strongly suspect that they are approving airspace authorizations to operate as long as you are flying under the existing regs.

Again, check the UASFM. Most of the cities grid boxes range from 50' to 200' AGL. That is the FAA' stance and the Santa Monica airport was the one that set those limits.
 
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I recently wanted to fly over some private property in the city of Santa Monica. I received permission from the FAA to fly. I contacted the Santa Monica police and was told it is illegal to fly in the city of Santa Monica. I went and checked the cities ordinances the only one that they have. Was a ordinance that prohibits flying a drone over the beach City parking lots in city parks. I emailed the Santa Monica Police Department for clarification. And was told it was illegal to fly a drone in the city of Santa Monica. Due to its close relationship to the beach parks and schools which I'm nowhere near. They referred me to the Santa Monica Airport. Santa Monica Airport referred me to the FAA. So I absolutely don't know what to do now
I recently had a similar situation in Lake Worth, FL. My plan was to fly over the beach while it was closed. There was an officer next to my car and told him I wanted to fly over the beach. He told me the city had banned drones and I wasn’t allowed to fly the beach. It didn’t sound right so I contacted the City Manager and he contacted the Chief of Police. A couple of hours later he contacted me to tell me the Officer gave me wrong information . The City didn’t ban drones and there were no FAA flight restriction. I printed the email just in case I ran into the same situation again. The beach reopened the following week and with people on the beach I couldn’t fly over it.
It’s unfortunate that some authorities don’t know what they are talking about.
 
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Thank you so much I appreciate everyone's comments for a while I felt like I was in this alone
One last thing that needs to be said, especially now. Just because they are wrong or misinformed, arguing with a cop is a losing proposition. You'll need to address this one probably from the top down at the City level. Without any proof that you discussed this with someone in authority and they agree with you, the cop on the spot is always going to be right. Solve it smart and get the proof you need to operate.
 
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One last thing that needs to be said, especially now. Just because they are wrong or misinformed, arguing with a cop is a losing proposition. You'll need to address this one probably from the top down at the City level. Without any proof that you discussed this with someone in authority and they agree with you, the cop on the spot is always going to be right. Solve it smart and get the proof you need to operate.
Absolutely correct, I did not argue with the cop. I packed up and left
 

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