The following information and links are provided as background for the upcoming February BOA meeting discussion of Drones in the Cove. If you would like to share your thoughts about the topic, please scroll down to the end of the posting and add them in the Comments section.

It has been reported that a lot owner hired an aerial photographer to take pictures of his/her lot for the purposes of selling it. The photographer used a drone to take the aerial pictures as well as taking ground pictures of common areas such as the stream/pond.

The question brought to the BOA (board of administrators) is if drone use in the Cove should be regulated or restricted.


Drone use has expanded exponentially as they become more affordable. They are already in use for:

  • Aerial photography for real estate agents in selling properties
  • Township monitoring of building permits and other violations in some areas
  • Law enforcement
  • Growing use in some areas for package delivery
  • Recreational use

This posting contains information and links to articles that may be helpful as background information in the discussion of Drones. Keep in mind a restriction of a property owner or agent of the owner to use a drone on their private property would require an amendment to the C&Rs and require a vote of the full membership as it restricts the usage of private property. (as described by the Association attorney). A rule or regulation could be made by the board to restrict drone use on common ground.

North Carolina State Law

Provided below is a short summary of the most relevant sections. For a full summary PDF from the State of North Carolina Department of Transportation, use this link: https://www.ncdot.gov/divisions/aviation/uas/Documents/nc-uas-regulations.pdf

15A-300.1. Restrictions on use of unmanned aircraft systems

(b) General Prohibitions. – Except as otherwise provided in this section, no person, entity, or state agency shall use an unmanned aircraft system to do any of the following:

(1) Conduct Surveillance of: a. A person or dwelling occupied by a person and that dwelling’s curtilage without the person’s consent. b. Private real property without the consent of the owner, easement holder, or lessee of the property.

(2) Photograph an individual, without the individual’s consent, for the purpose of publishing or otherwise publicly disseminating the photograph. This subdivision shall not apply to news gathering, news worthy events, or events or places to which the general public is invited.

15A-300.2. Regulation of launch and recovery sites

(a) No unmanned aircraft system may be launched or recovered from any State or private property without consent.

14-401.25. Unlawful distribution of images.
It shall be a Class A1 misdemeanor to publish or disseminate, for any purpose, recorded images taken by a person or non-law enforcement entity through the use of infrared or other similar thermal imaging technology attached to an unmanned aircraft system, as defined in G.S. 15A-300.1, and revealing individuals, materials, or activities inside of a structure without the consent of the property owner.

Drone Use recommendations from PC Magazine

The following link is to an article from PC Magazine outlining in simple terms the requirements and rights of drone enthusiasts. Of particular interest is the section Dealing with Conflict. Showing the photos to a person who questions the right of the drone operator to take pictures, is a recommended practice: https://www.pcmag.com/article/337889/drone-regulations-what-you-need-to-know

HOA Regulation of Drones (Lowndes Florida Law firm)

Please note this is from a Florida law firm and may not be fully applicable to North Carolina. The following link is to a recent publication from a real estate attorney Gary M. Kaleita on the subject of regulating drones in an Association: https://lowndes-law.com/article-detail/post_detail/regulation-of-drones-by-homeowners-associations

JayBird Aerial

JayBird Aerials, is the company hired to take the aerial photographs of the Carefree Cove lot. Their website address is https://www.jaybirdaerials.com/ . Scroll down to the BIO and IMPORTANT INFORMATION section.