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Boulder considers whether drones should be allowed to fly in open spaces

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BOULDER, Colo. — Boulder County officials are trying to decide whether to allow drones to fly in open spaces.

The proposal is very limiting. Only researchers and officials would be allowed to fly the unmanned aircraft in the county’s open spaces. Visitors and commercial operators would be prohibited.

Boulder County Parks and Open Space is considering a limited use of drones as a cost effective way to research and manage the land.

“It will do exactly what we tell it to do, nothing more and nothing less. It’s quite amazing technology,” said Skip Miller, CEO and founder of UASUSA, a Boulder-based drone manufacturer.

Miller said drones provide a set of eyes we have never had before.

“We could have a fire in an open space. We could have cattle that are running around. We could have fences broken. I can cover that efficiently and silently,” Miller said.

Some residents are worried about safety and privacy though.

“It’s not clear what they want to use them for and I think the whole reason we pay taxes for open space and parks is to have places free of motorized vehicles,” homeowner Andrew Schelling said.

Boulder County officials said they are sympathetic to the public’s concerns. All permits would go through a review process and they would have to let the public know before they could fly.