Pitt County Board of Commissioners approve changes to drone ordinance, farmers’ market

Pitt County commissioners meet June 9, 2015 for a budget hearing.

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – The Pitt County Board of Commissioners discussed drones and the county farmers’ market at their meeting Monday.

Vice Chairman of the Soil and Water Conservation District Board Tom Best pushed for more freedom when it comes to the use of drones by farmers.

“(Right now,) you can’t let the drone out of your sight,” said Commissioner Tom Best. “You always have to have visual. You have to be able to see that drone at all times.”

Best said many farmers rely on technology like drones to cover multiple acres of land.

“An autonomous drone — there isn’t anyone watching that drone at all,” said Best. “It has it’s own station and it is programmed to fly in a specific area. These drones would be going out ther, and they would be flying over top of the fields, and they would be taking care of video.”

He is asking there be a change to allow farmers to use autonomous drones without supervision in order to save time and money.

“It’d be very expensive to have a human out there operating the drone and watching the drone constantly,” said Best.

Commissioner Jimmy Garris was on board with the change.

“I think that will play out very well, and I think that farmers will appreciate us being proactive on that particular issue, especially those farmers of course that use drones,” said Garris.

Those aren’t the only changes coming to Pitt County.

The Board of Commissioners also approved a proposed amendment to allow alcohol sales at the farmers’ market.

This comes after the county extension director Leigh Guth expressed local wineries want to sell their products there as well.

The request was met with some backlash; however, Guth said the products come from locally grown fruits and the wineries should also be allowed to expand business.

“The vendors at the farmers’ market felt like these folks are farmers too,” Guth said. “They are growing things locally in our region and that their way of selling it is through wine.”

Although they are now allowed to sell there, drinking alcohol is still prohibited. This includes taste testing.

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