There is a Planning Commission Meeting on April 2, 2018 and UFVs and UFOs are on the agenda.
Resolution 18-09 is being introduced. The MSB planning staff is advising the Planning Commission to adopt this resolution recommending that the MSB Assembly approve Ordinance 18-021.
What is Ordinance 18-021???
An amendment/update to MSB Code exempting Unmanned Flying Vehicles (UFVs, i.e. drones) from the Conditional Use Permit requirements for Race Tracks.
So, if this Ordinance passes, there will be no notice to the public and no process for the approval of any drone racing tracks/areas.
Here is the Memo about this resolution:
The details including the specific changes to the MSB Code are outlined in the Planning Commission Meeting packet:
So, if UFVs are drones, what are UFOs?
Those are “Unidentified Friend’s Ordinances”…That is, Ordinances drafted for friends of the MSB.
Notice that in all the paperwork prepared by the MSB staff which was posted publicly and submitted to the Planning Commission etc, there is ZERO mention of the real reason the MSB wants this ordinance changed. Who or what is behind the push to change the rules re: drone racing?
The MSB always hides the ball. They never explain what is really going on behind the scenes when they propose an Ordinance or a Resolution, etc. They never tell the public “the rest of the story.”
I had to do a lot of digging to figure out what the real story was behind this seemingly innocuous Ordinance change.
In this case, the friend is former MSB Assembly member Stephen Colligan.
He loves drones and drone racing.
He founded the non profit, Alaska Drone Racing League, in 2016.
WARNING TO BUTTE RESIDENTS: The drone races are taking place out in the Butte but if this Ordinance passes, you will have no say about these drone races.
The Alaska Drone Racing League has a website – AKDRL.ORG. They also have a Facebook page.
THEY ALSO SEEM TO HAVE A SPECIAL DRONE RACING PARK LOCATED RIGHT AT THE JIM CREEK RECREATIONAL AREA. (Did the MSB inform the public about this before they agreed to allow this drone league to race at Jim Creek? Why wasn’t this on the agenda of an Assembly meeting or the Butte Community Council meeting?)
Look at the Drone League’s Facebook post from February 24th of this year. “The MatSu Borough has been busy working in the area of our flying field. There are now 18 camping spots on site. A large berm is in place as well. There will be a specific parking area for us on our field.”
So, I guess the MSB has been making sure Jim Creek has amenities for the drone league folks. Hmmmm….
And look at the Alaska Drone League’s website. They have scheduled the AKDRL Summer 2018 season and most of the races are taking place at the “Jim Creek RC Park” which seems to be located right at the (publicly owned) Jim Creek Rec Area.
The “Jim Creek RC Park.” Why hasn’t this park been publicized before? Is this part of the Jim Creek Master Plan?
If so, I can’t find it:
Why didn’t the MSB staff reveal to the Planning Commission and the public that it has basically ALREADY granted permission to the AKDRL to have drone races at Jim Creek? And why didn’t the MSB reveal that they have basically already accommodated this drone league with a special field for their use and parking spots at Jim Creek?
I wonder if the fact that Steve Colligan was an Assembly member until this past fall has anything to do with this set up? (The MSB Planning Division is accommodating Assembly member Dr. Doty’s request for an Aviation overlay district and SPUD for her privately owned Wolf Lake airport. See blog post “This SPUD’s for you.”)