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Rich City Biz Blog – March 13, 2017

March is Women’s History Month!

In honor of Women’s History Month, the Chamber is contacting women-owned businesses to feature on our blog. Please contact for details.

Highlights from the Richmond City Council Meeting - March 7, 2017

Following contentious debate regarding the Mayor's rent board appointments and the declaration of solidarity with the Tibetan community, council addressed regulations concerning unmanned aircraft systems (UAS/drones) within city limits.
The Richmond Police Department (RPD) presented a local ordinance for UAS that addresses potential safety risks to residents, protects privacy, and promotes technological advancements in police and fire technologies. Several council-members expressed a need to more clearly delineate the ordinance's definition of "reasonable expectation of privacy". Other concerns centered on the protocol for data-gathering without infringing upon the rights of private citizens, especially in terms of recording criminal activities in progress.
Policing Advantages
RPD embraces drone technologies for their cost-saving investigative capabilities. Lightweight drones are able to fly undetected in spaces that are inaccessible and/or unsafe for personnel or heavy vehicles. The surveillance capabilities of drones are immense, giving police and fire departments the capacity to detect crimes in progress and potential safety or environmental hazards with unprecedented accuracy.
Council moved to continue the discussion to the next four weeks with a decision made by the first week of April. They will discuss the implications of drone technology with stakeholder groups such as the ACLU.
Federal and Statewide Drone Legislation
RPD's proposed guidelines were drafted in compliance with that of the  Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), federal regulator of all civil aerospace activities. Key RPD additions centered around obstructions to police and fire activities and emergency response services: "there are no existing regulations regarding who may purchase a drone which presents a safety risk to residents in that drones may be purchased and operated by persons intending to use such drone to engage in illegal activity".
Key developments in drone and privacy-related legislation include:
  • US v. Causby (1946): Extends definition of private property to the "immediate reaches of the enveloping atmosphere"


  • California Civil Code Section 1708.8(b) (2010): "this tort renders a person liable for invasion of privacy when that person attempts to capture, in an offensive manner, any type of visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression of another person in which that person had a reasonable expectation of privacy, through the use of any device, regardless of whether there was a physical trespass, if the image or recording could not have been achieved without a trespass unless the device was used." Civil fines from $5,000-50,000.


  • An act to add Chapter 15 (commencing with Section 54999.8) to Part 1 of Division 2 of Title 5 of the Government Code, relating to law enforcement agencies. (2016)
    • Committee Location: Sen Public Safety
    • Committee Hearing Date: 03/21/17
    • Type of Measure: Active Bill - In Committee Process
    • "The bill would require that the law enforcement agency submit an amendment to the surveillance plan, pursuant to the same open meeting requirements, for each new type of surveillance technology sought to be used."

The act declares that decisions concerning technology for data collection, use, and storage shouldn't be made by the agencies that operate them but: "by the elected bodies that are directly accountable to the residents in their communities who should also have opportunities to review the decision of whether or not to use surveillance technologies."

  • Concerning Adoptions of New Drone Technology:
    • (c) If a law enforcement agency intends to acquire a new type of surveillance technology after the adoption of the policy required by subdivision
      • (a), the agency shall amend the policy to include the new type of technology and submit the amendment to its governing body for approval consistent with subdivision
      • (b). The amendment shall be made within 10 days of the acquisition of the technology and shall be submitted to the governing body at a properly noticed public meeting on the regular, non-consent calendar and shall be in writing and made publically available prior to the public hearing.
    • (e) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit a governing body from adopting additional protocols as they relate to surveillance technology.


  • An act to amend Section 1708.8 of the Civil Code, relating to privacy. (2015)
  • Renders a person liable for physical and constructive invasions of privacy

Funding Opportunities

Richmond Chamber of Commerce

Richmond Planning Commission Highlights

Special Meeting on Thursday, March 16, 2017 at 6:30PM

Location: Council Chambers, City Hall

440 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond, CA 94804



New Items

  • Public Hearing to consider a Conditional Use Permit and Design Review Permit for an auto repair shop, office, and storage space at 1080 Hensley St.
    • Owner: MMJR, LLC
    • Applicant: Trio Holdings, LLC
    • Planner, Jonelyn Whales


  • Public Hearing to consider a Conditional Use Permit and Design Review Permit for a brew-on-premises brewery at 845 Marina Bay Pkwy.
    • Owner: Marina Bay Crossing, LLC
    • Applicant: Gregory Zobel
    • Planner, Jonelyn Whales

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