There’s a law against flying kites in Richmond, but that may soon change

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Technically it's illegal to fly kites in Richmond, but that will soon change
Photo by Alfarisi Gusman on Scopio

Did you know there is a law against flying kites in Richmond?

On May 15, 1922, the city adopted Ordinance No. 513, with the chapter entitled “Kite Flying.” The ordinance states, “It shall be unlawful for any person in the City of Richmond to fly any kite the frame or any part of which is constructed of wire, or in the flying of which wire is used for any purpose,” according to city documents.

The law isn’t enforced in Richmond. Mayor Tom Butt points out that the city does in fact allow people to fly kites.

But it’s among a number of possibly obsolete ordinances that remain in city code, the mayor said.

At the City Council meeting on Tuesday, Mayor Butt plans to ask that Council consider repealing three outdated and unenforced ordinances that include the ban on kite flying; an imposed curfew on minors (adopted by the city on June 28, 1982); and a ban on smoking in motor coaches (adopted on March 29, 1948). In the latter example, the ordinance is unnecessary as smoking is prohibited on any public transportation system.

In terms of the ordinance pertaining to juvenile curfews, the Richmond Police Department “does not currently have staff to enforce this ordinance and has not issued any citations since at least 2017,” the mayor said.

“The City Council continues to adopt new ordinances almost every week but seldom repeals outdated ordinances or amends portions of ordinances that are obsolete,” Mayor Butt stated in city documents. “This is the beginning of an effort to clean up the City’s code of ordinances.”

We aren’t immediately aware of the reason for the old ban on kite flying. Interestingly, kite flying was banned in Washington D.C. in 1882, presumably “to safeguard power and telephone lines,” according to the Washington Post. The law was changed in 1970 thanks to hippies, the Post reported early last year.