Jon W. Adams, Director of Architectural & Heritage Services ::::

On September 21, 2017, a federal judge overturned a city ordinance in Newton, Massachusetts, which required all drones to be registered, bans drones below 400ft above ground level without property owner permission, and prohibits flights beyond the visual line of sight of the operator.
If these rules sound familiar, that’s because they are. Newton’s ordinance, passed on December 19, 2016 was overturned because it is pre-empted by the federal government. Judge William G. Young stated that “Congress has given the FAA the responsibility of regulating the use of airspace for aircraft navigation and to protect individuals and property on the ground, and has specifically directed the FAA to integrate drones into the national airspace.” Essentially, state and local governments cannot rule over their local airspace as that airspace is already ruled over by the federal government, the FAA.

This is good news for both recreational and commercial drone operators, removing yet another set of hurdles to get Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs) in the skies. So long as you are operating under the FAA guidelines, you should not need to worry about any additional state/local restricitions.

For additional information on Drones, Jon W. Adams, Director of Architectural & Heritage Services at DJS Associates, can be reached via email at or via phone at 215-659-2010.