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Orlando approves new rules for drones

New rules governing the use of unmanned aerial drones in Orlando were unanimously approved Monday by the City Council, despite objections from enthusiasts and an industry group.

The new policies, which were put forward by Mayor Buddy Dyer’s administration, prohibit flying drones within 500 feet of city-owned parks or buildings, theme parks, schools, stadiums and any gathering of more than 1,000 people.

Drone pilots seeking to fly in those areas can apply for a special permit at a cost of $20 per flight. An annual permit, available only to accredited pilots, is expected to cost $150.

Critics argued the new policies are overly restrictive and address issues already covered by federal or state law, but city officials said they will promote safety while also creating a permitting process specific to drones, something Orlando had lacked.

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