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Kitsap County weighs drone launching ban near Navy bases

BREMERTON, Wash. — Kitsap County commissioners are weighing an ordinance that would prohibit drones from taking off and landing near military installations in the county.

The Kitsap Sun reports that Navy officials asked county commissioners in September to develop a local ordinance that would create a buffer zone around naval bases.

Navy officials say prohibiting drone take-offs and landings in buffer zones would effectively prevent them from flying over military installations. The Navy wants the zone to extend about 3,000 feet (914 meters) from the fence lines of each installation.

In April 2017, the Federal Aviation Administration banned drones from the airspace above the boundaries of military installations.

But Navy Region Northwest spokesman Sean Hughes says unauthorized use of drones over Navy installations remains a very serious concern.

Records obtained by the Kitsap Sun show there have been 17 drone overflight incidents in the airspace above Naval Base Kitsap installations within the past two years.