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(4/30/18)

November 11, 2018

Altadena Filming Committee submits report on filming permit accountability

The Altadena Filming Committee has prepared a report addressing accountability in Los Angeles County’s filming permit approval and enforcement processes. The report was prepared in response to the issue raised most often to the Committee: the lack of accountability by County departments.

The report is the result of an 18-month committee effort reviewing the County’s official documents and interviewing the County officials and contractors responsible for filming permits. The report identifies gaps between the required duties and current practice. It concludes with findings intended to explain how accountability problems arise from those gaps and provides a set of recommendations intended to address them.

The Committee report lists the following findings:
  • The agency responsible for approving filming permit applications and assessing filming impact lacks enforcement authority and the agency with enforcement authority does not assess nor mitigate any disruptive impacts of filming.

  • The authority to regulate filming frequency is vested in a County ordinance, but no County department appears to take responsibility for enforcing the ordinance.

  • The Terms and Conditions of a filming permit provide County officials with limited options for enforcement of filming permit conditions. The choices are suspend, revoke, cancel, or amend the permit. Given the draconian nature of each option, these options are seldom applied.

  • None of the County departments was able to provide written documentation of its filming permit approval and enforcement policies. The information about permits comes from informal verbal responses that are often inconsistent.

Based on the Committee’s findings, the Committee made the following recommendations:
  • Unify the permit application evaluation and approval process into a single office.

  • Provide additional enforcement mechanisms that can be reasonably applied to enforce of filming permit conditions.

  • Require that the Permit Authority specify an on-set County representative who has been delegated the authority to enforce permit conditions.

  • Institute a program of documenting the County’s permit approval and enforcement policies.

The Filming Committee's report may be timely. According to the County's Film Liaison, Gary Smith, the County is preparing a revision to the County's filming-related ordinances. The Town Council has sent the report to Supervisor Barger with an appeal to help improve accountability on the part of the County departments.

The letter to Supervisor Barger and the Committee report are available on the Altadena Town Council Website