Drones, adult entertainment, medical marijuana and trains are the subjects of four new ordinances brought to the Randolph County Commission, three of which have been approved.
Last week, the commission approved an ordinance related to unmanned aircrafts, or drones, specifically. The ordinance was put into place to protect property owners in Randolph County, Presiding Commissioner John Truesdell said.
Unmanned drones will be required to fly over 100 feet if travelling across another person’s property and the droves cannot hover over houses. Those who violate the ordinance could face fines, Truesdell said. Violations for flying lower than 100 feet without consent from the property owner could result in a fine up to $100, while a violation of hovering over private property will result in a $500, per the ordinance. If a drone crashes on another person’s property, the operator has to have permission from the property owner or contact the Randolph County Sheriff’s Department to retrieve the drone.
“Because cameras are getting so good, you can’t hover around someone’s house or their shed,” Truesdell said. “That’s going to keep those burglars from saying, ‘What am I going to come in there and steal tonight.’ …You can’t tell who is doing it and for what reason when it’s a drone flight.”
The ordinance also stipulates that the county has to be notified first before any drone weighing more than 250 grams is able to take off.
The commission also approved an ordinance related to the advertisement and locations of adult entertainment businesses. Essentially, the ordinance restricts signage for adult entertainment businesses to their store front. The addition of adult entertainment advertising and businesses in Randolph County would likely stunt economic growth in the county, Truesdell said.
“Without anything being in place, there was free roam,” Truesdell said. “You could put one up anywhere you wanted. We didn’t think that was in the best interest of the county or in the best interest of economic development.”
Adult entertainment businesses will not be able to open within a one-mile radius to any school, church, daycare, government facility or location where children younger than 18 live or reside, per the ordinance. The ordinance also restricts any advertisements for adult entertainment businesses along federal, state and county roadways. Signage would be limited to a single four foot by four foot singe that cannot have neon flashing lights or feature any visual sexual images.
Businesses who violate the ordinance would be fined up to $1,000 per day of operation while the business is out of compliance.
An ordinance was also approved by the commission that re-affirms regulations approved by the state concerning medical marijuana facilities.
“We’re going to back the state,” Truesdell said. “Some of the cities are changing, and we’re concerned some of the changes they’re making will not hold up in court. …We don’t think some of the distances they’re utilizing are going to be advantageous.”
Earlier this year, Moberly approved an ordinance which stipulates that medical marijuna dispensaries must be downtown. Part of that ordinance also shortens the distances that a medical marijauna facility must be from a church or school as approved by the state. State regulations determined that medical marijuana facilities have to be 1000 feet away from schools and churches, but because of the density of downtown Moberly and the proximity to so many churches, the local ordinance shortened the distance to 100 feet. Clark has also suggested shortening the allowable distance between a medical marijana facility and churches to 150 feet, Truesdells aid.
Even though cannabis is become legal for certain uses, there is still a stigma around it that could offend some local churchgoers, Truesdell said.
“They’re going to clash,” he said. “It’s not going to work. …It’s not going to make those church people happy, even if they recognize it for its medical reasons, because marijuana has had a lot standing stigma of crime and illegal activity.”
Though it has not been approved yet, the commission is also working on an ordinance that would require Norfolk Southern Railroad to notify the county when a train stops and blocks a county road. The proposed ordinance mirrors an ordinance in Moberly. Truesdell said the commission hopes to speak with Norfolk in the near future to discuss the implications of the ordinance.