City of Miami—Municipal Law // 2016 related to DRONES

Sec. 37-12. – Public safety and unmanned aircraft systems, commonly known as drones. This excerpt taken directly from Municode for the City of Miami which can be found at:


Purpose and intent. This section is intended to promote public safety and protect people attending large venue public events from the flying of unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS”) in and over such large public events. The city commission wishes to regulate the use of UAS within a half-mile radius around stadiums and sport facilities when these devices are in use, and over other large venue special events in public parks, public facilities, streets, plazas, open spaces and the like that will attract large groups of people. All restrictions are intended to protect persons gathered in groups where a UAS incident would cause greater harm and risk of injury due to a greater number of people gathered in a close proximity. It is not intended to restrict legitimate hobbyists operating UAS in compliance with FAA rules and any other applicable laws, and outside of the prohibited areas. This Section is not intended to preempt FAA rules, but rather to operate in conjunction with those rules to promote public safety while recognizing the limitation in the FAA’s enforcement capabilities.



Applicant shall mean the person or corporation that registers their UAS provided all the requirements in the code have been met.

Large venue special event shall mean any event held in a public space, open space, plaza, street, park, stadium, or any open-air facility or closed-air facility that is open to the public, ticketed and/or non-ticketed audience and is an event intended to attract people. A large venue special event includes but is not limited to, a sporting event, concert, festival, protest, etc.

Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) shall mean an unmanned aircraft or unmanned aircraft system that can fly under the control of a remote pilot or by global positioning system (GPS) guided autopilot mechanism. UAS are more commonly known as “drones.”




Unless otherwise exempt under this section, UAS are prohibited from being deployed, launched or flown in any airspace within or over any sporting and/or large venue special event, including but not limited to, over and within a half-mile radius of Bayfront Park, Marlins Ballpark, Miami Marine Stadium, or the Calle Ocho Festival when it is in use during a large venue special event, and over public parks and public facilities during large venue special events.


In all other areas of the city, the following restrictions shall apply:


UAS may not be larger than five pounds including any attachments, and may not be equipped with detachable cargo, releasable payload, or any device equipped to carry a weapon. Any modifications to a UAS must be pursuant to FAA approval and registered via the city’s application process.


UAS over five pounds may be operated only by a registered member of the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), if the operator is subjected to and compliant with AMA rules. Notwithstanding the weight limit, all other provisions of this section shall apply.


Conditions in subsections (2)a. and b. above shall be included as conditions in the application process.




An application is required for certain activities so that city officials and employees can regulate activities which would tend to damage private/public property, endanger the public or event attendees, or which are likely to create an atmosphere which would discourage use of city-owned property, other locations or venues for their intended purpose.


The application form shall be completed by the applicant.


The application shall be processed and approved by the appropriate city official (s) and departments as is accustomed through the city’s regular special event and temporary event process as established in the City Code in chapters 54 and 62 prior to allowing the use of a UAS pursuant to this article.


The applicant’s form shall require the name of applicant, valid governmental issued identification, current address and phone number(s) of applicant, photograph of UAS to be registered, UAS name and serial number or product number, and statement of purpose for use of the UAS.


Applications must be made at least 14 days prior to requested usage time of UAS to ensure proper review of application by city officials.


The city manager is authorized to establish fees for the processing of applications pursuant to this article. Thereafter, the city manager shall set and annually revise and adjust said fees, if necessary, prior to the first day of September, and such revised fees shall become effective the first day of October of each fiscal year via an administrative memorandum. In reviewing the existing schedule of fees to determine whether or not to revise and adjust the same, the city manager shall take into consideration any one, or all of the following criteria: (i) purpose and type of event(s) or program(s) conducted at the city-owned properties or at the large venue special events, including benefits to the community; (ii) operating expenses of the application process described herein; (iii) and/or other factors deemed appropriate by the city manager. At any time, the city manager shall be authorized to negotiate the fee for all applications to use UAS above should it be determined that the current schedule of fees does not properly address a particular type of event.


Same—Rules and conditions. The following rules and conditions shall apply to applications sought pursuant to this section:


UAS activity described in this article is allowed on a first come, first served basis.


Applications are nontransferable, and are valid only on the date specified thereon.


The applicant shall be held responsible for any damage and be liable to any third party.


The applicant shall observe, obey and comply with the rules and regulations established by this section, as well as all applicable city, county, state and federal laws, rules and regulations.


The applicant shall assume all risk in the use of the UAS and shall be solely responsible and answerable in damages for all accidents and injury to person or property, as well as fines in connection with violations of this section or other applicable law.


Special conditions related to safety may be imposed for particular large venue special events depending upon occupancy or other safety considerations.


Exemptions. This section shall not prohibit the use of UAS by an applicant under this section or by any law enforcement or fire rescue agency for lawful purposes and operated in a lawful manner. Notwithstanding the prohibitions set forth in this section, nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit, limit, or otherwise restrict any person who is authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration to operate small unmanned aircraft in any city air space, pursuant to Sections 331—336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 or certificate of waiver, certificate of authorization, or airworthiness certificate under section 44704 of Title 49 of United States Code or other Federal Aviation Administration grant of authority for a specific flight operation or operations, from conducting such operation(s) in accordance with the authority granted by the Federal Aviation Administration.




Penalty. Any person in violation of any provision of this section shall be subject to the penalty as provided in section 1-13; however, in addition to, or in lieu of any criminal prosecution, the city shall have the power to sue in civil court and to enforce the provisions of this article before its code enforcement board established in chapter 2, article X of the Code of the City of Miami as amended. In addition to the penalties referenced above, a UAS operated in violation of this chapter will be impounded and held until the conclusion of the court or code enforcement proceedings.


Release and disposal. Following the city’s receipt of the request for an adversarial hearing by the owner of the UAS, the city shall schedule such hearing to take place before a hearing officer within 45 days. The hearing officer shall conduct a full adversarial hearing, and will render a decision in writing at the conclusion of the hearing. At the hearing, it shall be the city’s burden to demonstrate a violation of this section. If the hearing officer finds that the city has not met this burden, it shall relinquish possession of the UAS to the owner. Formal rules of evidence shall not apply at the hearing and hearsay and circumstantial evidence shall be admissible. Title to any unclaimed UAS lawfully impounded pursuant to this section in the custody of the city shall vest permanently in the city 60 days after the conclusion of the proceeding in accordance with F.S. § 705.105, as amended.


Liability and insurance.


Prior to the finalization of the application, the applicant/operator shall furnish to the city a signed statement, approved by the city attorney, that the applicant/operator shall hold-harmless, indemnify and defend the city, its elected officials, officers, and employees for any claims for damages to property or injury to persons which may be occasioned by any activity carried on under the terms of the application.


Applicant shall furnish and maintain such public liability and property damage insurance to protect from all claims and damage to property or bodily injury which may arise from operations under the application or in connection therewith subject to an assessment by risk management.

(Ord. No. 13581, § 2, 12-10-15)