South Elgin settles drone case with resident
South Elgin resident Keith Kmieciak, who fought the village's law regulating drone flights, has reached an agreement with the village that will allow him to fly his drone with a permit in all but one South Elgin park.
He received a citation Sept. 7 for flying his drone near Jim Hansen Park.
He subsequently hired a lawyer to fight the $50 citation, while village officials announced their intention to report him to the Federal Aviation Administration.
South Elgin requires residents to apply for a permit to fly drones over public parks, but Kmieciak said the village had no business regulating his hobby.
Kmieciak went to the park with local blogger Bill O'Neill of Elginet Media, who posted a video on YouTube showing Kmieciak being issued a citation by Deputy Chief Jerry Krawczyk.
Under the agreement reached "to the satisfaction of all involved," according to a news release from Elginet Media, Kmieciak's citation was rescinded. He has also been issued a permit to fly in parks in South Elgin, except SEBA Park.
SEBA Park was excluded because it is used by children who have autism or are disabled, and the noise from a drone could affect them.
The settlement ended a standoff stemming from Kmieciak's contention the village cannot regulate airspace and that he didn't violate the ordinance because he was standing in the street when he flew his drone.
"I would be in violation (of the village ordinance) if I took the drone into the park, took off from the park and landed into the park," he said.
Village Attorney Derke Price said South Elgin has every right to require drone permits. The FAA has jurisdiction only over airspace 500 feet and higher, and in the video, Kmieciak said he's flying his drone at about 130 feet, Price said.
• Daily Herald staff writer Elena Ferrarin contributed to this report