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City to consider policy for operating drones

The city of Mitchell is looking to get into the world of drones.

The Mitchell City Council, which meets at 6 p.m. Monday in a regular meeting at City Hall, is considering approving an unmanned aircraft system, or UAS, policy that would cover a wide number of possible uses, ranging from natural disasters to traffic stops.

According to City Attorney Justin Johnson's council documents, the city is in the process of applying for a certificate of authorization with the Federal Aviation Administration, which is necessary for the city's drone application.

The city has drafted a policy outlining the guidelines and regulations for operating the drones. According to the policy, there would be drone personnel training and city officials must demonstrate proficiency before operating a drone.

In the rationale provided to the city council, one of the reasons for using drones is for investigative support for law enforcement for issues ranging from homicides to traffic collisions. The policy states that drones would not be able to conduct random surveillance activities, and drone use would be tightly regulated in compliance with South Dakota law.

The drone may also be used for responding to a crime at a residential property, such as an armed robbery. In that case, the policy says, the chief of public safety would need to ensure proper warrants are obtained before using the drone. According to the policy, the agency will balance the need to accomplish the mission with the preservation of public privacy and the freedom from unreasonable intrusion.

The chief of public safety would be responsible for overseeing the drone, which includes selecting all city personnel for operating the drone, maintaining contact with the FAA regarding any updated drone regulations and providing proper training for operating the drone technology.

Flight boundaries for drones are mandated by the FAA, and the city must stay within those boundaries. Policy documents state the maximum altitude for a drone is 400 feet.

Watershed easement to be considered

Also on Monday's consent agenda, the city is seeking approval to apply for an agricultural land easement for three parcels near Lake Mitchell.

According to Public Works Director Kyle Croce, the city has agreed with the property owners — Darren and Stephanie Reasy and Circle K Ranch. The property owners would apply to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service for the easement. The easement measures 55 acres and the city and property owners agreed on a cost of $7,000 per acre for the easement, which totals $385,000.

If approved, the city would work with partnerships on funding the purchase of the easement.

"The USDA and NRCS will be responsible for funding 50 percent to 75 percent of the costs, and would work with the James River Water Development District and others for the remaining funding responsibility," Croce wrote.

Consent agenda

The following items will be considered as part of the consent agenda:

• Approve the minutes of the March 18 council meeting.

• Approve minutes from March 18 traffic commission meeting.

• Set the date for the following raffle permits: Fur Get Me Not Animal Care and Mitchell Area Children's Choir with a drawing to be held on April 28, 2019; Xtreme Cheer and Dance with a drawing to be held on April 29, 2019; Big Friend Little Friend with a drawing to be held on August 21, 2019.

• Set the date for the following hearings: On the application of the Corn Palace Shrine Club for a special event liquor license to be located at the Masonic Temple for a wedding on June 7, 2019; On the application of the Corn Palace Shrine Club for a special event liquor license to be located at the Masonic Temple for a wedding on September 21, 2019.

• Set the date for the following bid opening: April 23, 2019 for the annual paving and overlay of street and parking lots.

• Approve new taxi license applications: Arin Winger, for Lyft; Doug Greenway, for D&J Fun Bus, LLC.

• Approve grant funds for the purchase of First Net Equipment, a portable radio traffic technology that will be used by Mitchell's Department of Public Safety.

• Approve gas and fuel quotations.

• Approve April 1 pay estimates.

• Approve bills, payroll, salary adjustments and new employee hires.

Other business

• Pledge of Allegiance, invocation from Mitchell Wesleyan Church, roll call, hear citizens' input.

• Approve consent agenda.

• Hearing on the Application of Imagine Guild Inc. for a special event liquor/malt beverage license to be located on Main Street, which would force the closure of the following streets: South Main Street from Second Avenue to The Depot as well as Railroad Street from 1/2 block west of Main Street to east of Main to Lawler Street, including both the city of Mitchell's parking lots south of First and Railroad avenues. There is also a request for closing the alley on the west parking lot and allow to use the adjoining city gravel parking area between the alley and the public safety storage building. The application would also seek to obtain a special liquor license, consumption and noise permits for a poker run permit and associated cost for the Memorial Weekend in Mitchell and Barbecue Cook-Off event on May 25, 2019.

• Meet as the Board of Adjustment and reconvene as the city council.

• Table the application of Yvonne Steward, applicant, and Mid Dakota Properties, owner, application for a conditional use permit (family residential child care) at the property located at 517 N. Duff St., legally described as the south half of Lots 1 and 2 and the north half of the vacated alley, Rowley's second addition, northeast quarter of Section 21 in Mitchell Township, city of Mitchell. The lot is zoned R4 multi-family residential district.

• Approve Mitchell Municipal Airport terminal sublease with Dakota Flight Center. The sublease is to allow Agtegra space at the airport.

• Approve James Valley Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force joint powers agreement, which would include Aurora, Davison, Hanson and Sanborn counties.

• Approve resolution for declaration of emergencies and disasters.

• Approve Resolution No. R2019-24, a plat of lot 21 of airport addition, a subdivision of previously platted lot 2 of Fiala's addition in the East half of the Northwest quarter of Section 4, T 103 N, R 60 West of the 5th P.M., in Davison County.

• Approve Resolution No. R2019-25, a plat of lot B-1, a subdivision of lot B, block 1, Sunnyside addition to the city of Mitchell.

• Approve Resolution No. R2019-26, a plat of lots 5 and 6 of Devon and Daren Long's first addition, a subdivision of irregular tract No. 3 in the Northeast Quarter of Section 23, T 103 N, R 60 West of the 5th P.M., in Davison County.

• Approve No. R2019-27, a resolution of intent to lease city property located at 514 N. Main Street to the Mitchell Area Development Corporation. If approved, a public hearing would be held April 15.

• Hold first reading on ordinance No. 02019-03, city's bicycle ordinance regarding updates for electric bicycles.

• Hold first reading on ordinance No. 02019-04, city's grass in parks ordinance regarding the Mitchell Parks and Recreation Board recommendation to update the section of the ordinance that discusses the rules and regulations on grass in parks.

• Hold first reading on ordinance No. 02019-05, regarding supplemental appropriations.

• Consider entering into an executive session, citing legal discussion.

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