Dexter currently has no laws concerning drones. That might change at the next meeting of the Dexter City Council, Monday, March 28. If passed, the law would ban flying drones within 500 feet of public schools, car accidents, medical incidents, or police and fire investigations.
The five regulations specified include requiring that the vehicle has to be used for recreational use only, remain within line of sight of the operator and that it won’t be used around another person without their consent.
It also won’t be able to be within 500 feet of a public works facility, such as a power substation or generating plant. The drone also couldn’t be within 25 feet of “equipment for the transmission of sounds or signal, or of heat, light or power, or data, upon or along any public way within the city….”
Drone laws have been a much talked about public topic lately. From everything from the federal governments use of military drones for spying and air strikes overseas, to private tri-rotor drones used by enthusiasts.
Laws about civilian drones vary widely. The state legislature passed a law last year, banning hunters from using drones to kill game or catch fish. Lansing also passed another law that prevents other drone users from using drones to harass hunters.
In other news, the Washtenaw County Road Commission has asked the city for a written commitment of support for a 0.5 mill tax to support roads and non-motorized improvements, which will be on the ballot August 2.
This county-wide tax is projected to raise $7.45 million in total, with 20 percent or $1.49 million going to Washtenaw County Parks & Rec to fund the Border-to-Border Trail’s ongoing expansions and development, as well as the Connecting Communities project.
The remaining $5.96 million will go towards constructing and maintaining roads, pathways, culverts and bridges. The city will get $92,000 of that funding after the county parks and recreation department captures $16,000 of it, although Dexter will benefit greatly from those captured funds as the Mill Creek Park trail system and nearby boardwalk are developed jointly by the city and county parks. City officials have made great use of matching grants and other sources of funding that have lessened the burden of the park’s development on city coffers.
Dexter has supported the road commission’s bids for tax revenue from the voters in the past, having passed resolutions similar to the one that will be on the table Monday in both 2014 and 2015, both of which had similar structures to the most recent one.
Those who wish to weigh in on this road infrastructure topic should come to the council meeting at 7:30 p.m. sharp and be prepared to participate in a public hearing that will occur early in the meeting proceedings.
Phase 2 of the Mill Creek Park Trail is going to cost about $2 million. Back in February, the Dexter Parks and Recreation Commission recommended hiring Smith Group JRR to help write a grant application to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund.
The grant the city is after would contribute $180,000. The city is also attempting to secure a similar sized grant from the Washtenaw Area Transportation Study. Smith Group JRR is an urban planning, engineering and architectural firm, based in Ann Arbor. According to a proposal sent they to the city, Smith Group JJR would charge $26,700 for its services. This would include $14,800 for “wetland determination,” $6,600 for planting tips “for restoration of slope below farmer’s market” and $5,300 in grant assistance.
Also on the horizon might be a hearing for instituting liquor license standards. This would set up standards for council to advise the state Liquor Control Commission on what businesses to allow, or refuse, a liquor license. After this was discussed last February, city staff based their recommendations on Plymouth’s similar law. If council approves, the public hearing on the draft law would be on April 25.