After a woman was fatally struck by a piece of building facade that fell from a Midtown building last week, a group of elected officials are backing a plan to legalize drones to perform building inspections.
At the request of Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Brooklyn City Councilmember Justin Brannan said he plans to introduce two City Council bills early next year related to drone technology. One would require that an initial drone inspection be done within 48 hours of a facade-related 311 complaint or Department of Building violation, while the second would authorize the New York City Housing Authority to use drones for initial facade inspections on NYCHA developments.
Although the Federal Aviation Administration approves restricted flights by registered drone pilots, the use of drones is currently illegal in most of New York City. Last year, Brennan, whose Brooklyn district includes Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, and Bensonhurst, proposed a bill that would remove the outright ban and authorize some city agencies, including the Department of Transportation and New York Police Department, to oversee some permitted uses. The NYPD already deploys drone technology for certain purposes, including for search and rescue and inaccessible crime scenes.