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Jersey Shore’s Hoboken filming request denied, Mayor Zimmer says informal "verbal agreements" were made involving payments to individuals for"unauthorized filming"
Jersey Shore’s Hoboken filming request denied, Mayor Zimmer says informal "verbal agreements" were made involving payments to individuals for "unauthorized filming"
January 31, 2012 – Ed Mecka – edmecka.com
Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer advised the “Jersey Shore” production company that their request for their Hoboken filming permit has been denied. Zimmer wrote;
“After careful deliberation, the members of the Film Commission, including representatives from Health & Human Services, Environmental Services, and the Administration, with input from our public safety officials, have determined that in the interest of public safety and quality of life, the permit application for 495 Productions/MTV's production of the Jersey Shore spin-off has been denied.”
HIGH ETHICAL STANDARD:
Zimmer went on to say that the production company, by their own admission, had already filmed in public areas without the required permits based on informal “verbal agreements” involving payments to individuals.
“We were extremely surprised to learn during our meeting with you that 495 Productions filmed in public areas without a required film permit in one location. You explicitly stated that the permit was not granted and instead informal "verbal agreements" were made involving payments to individuals.”
“As the mayor of a community that has experienced significant corruption in the recent past, I write to put you, 495 Productions, MTV, and Viacom on formal notice that there will be zero tolerance for this kind of approach in the City of Hoboken. Any attempts to film in a manner that is not permitted without a permit will be dealt with immediately and aggressively by the City of Hoboken.”
“Please be advised that no City official or City employee has the authority to provide any verbal authorizations to film in public areas. The offering or acceptance of any payments or compensation of any kind by such employees or officials is a criminal offense.”
LOCAL FILM COMMISSION SPEAKS:
January 31, 2012
TO: 495 Productions, Inc. Burbank Blvd. Burbank, CA
FROM: City of Hoboken Local Film Commission
RE: Permit to Film Application: 495 Productions
We are writing to advise you of our decision to deny the film permit application dated january 4th, 2012 received from Amy Griggs representing 495 Productions, Inc., Burbank Blvd. Burbank, CA.
On Tuesday, january 24th, 2012, a meeting of the Hoboken Local Film Commission was held at the Mayor's Conference Room in Hoboken City Hall to discuss a proposed production by 495 Productions of an untitled television series. The meeting was attended by members of the Hoboken Film Commission: Mayor Dawn Zimmer, as a representative of the Administration, Director Leo Pellegrini from the Department of Health and Human Services, and Maritza Emanuelli from the Department of Environmental Services along with representatives of 495 Productions (Mr. jim Bianco, 4222 Burbank Boulevard, Burbank, California). The purpose of this meeting was to gather information regarding the proposed production and to assess if granting the permit would be in the interest of the health, safety and welfare of the community.
The Commission heard Mr. Bianco of 495 Productions describe the production concept including the general organizational themes and logistical structures. He explained that this is a "reality based" series of programs that would require about 700 hours of film to produce a single hour of broadcast programming. The production would require that filming both interior and exterior locations take place on an "ad hoc" or unscripted and unpredictable basis and would follow the daily activities of two well-known reality television celebrities through the City of Hoboken. It would include an apartment where the two would reside, and crews would follow and film them throughout the day and evening. The proposed 24-hour filming permit would violate the provisions of Hoboken 97-3 sec. E. which prohibits filming after 11:00pm in a residential area, virtually all of the City of Hoboken.
Mr. Bianco explained that his company had prior experience in New jersey, Miami and in Italy and that local authorities had expressed reservations about the production within their cities at each place.
Hoboken Chief of Police Anthony Falco also was present at the meeting. Chief Falco has personal and professional experience with film production management and spoke with insight and authority on this subject. The Chief cited a litany of potential public safety problems associated with such an unstructured production as was proposed. While film production generally is well organized in advance and film locations and sites carefully selected and prepared well in advance of filming, there would be little to no such site control in this instance. This factor alone makes public safety planning almost impossible.
Hoboken is geographically a very small city, which makes it very easy to get to any location quickly. Onlookers and fans would find it very easy to follow the production through the streets of Hoboken. Furthermore, in this age of instant communication, the whereabouts of the film crew and cast would be known by the public on a virtual minute-by-minute basis, making crowd and traffic control impossible. The density of our city does not lend itself to 24-hour activity as would be experienced by our citizens.
All the locations considered for filming are located in the midst of residential properties, apartments, condos and townhouses. The commercial production of this scale would take place on the very doorsteps and beneath the windows of our citizens, unnecessarily degrading their quality of life.
Finally, based on the Commissions' collective experience and knowledge of the very active nightlife scene in Hoboken, the constant presence of such a production would be an attractive nuisance causing crowds to assemble at every hour of the day and night, additional traffic congestion, the attendant noise associated with large public gatherings and unacceptable lessening of the quality of life for the local residents and businesses.
Based on all the evidence provided by the production company and Chief Falco, the Commission unanimously agreed to deny the application based on the negative impact it would have on the health, safety and welfare of our community.
Under the film permit process, 495 Productions/MTV has the right to appeal this decision directly to the Hoboken City Council.
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