Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Filming Conditions Final Draft

The following Special Conditions for Location Filming in Downtown Los Angeles are the final draft that will be presented to the Los Angeles City Council.

Download this as a PDF file.


Special Conditions for Location Filming in Downtown Los Angeles

The Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council (DLANC), Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), Film L.A., Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP), Directors Guild of America (DGA), and the Central City Association (CCA) submit the following “Special Conditions for Location Filming in Downtown Los Angeles” (Special Conditions) for your consideration. The Special Conditions have been drafted over a six-month period and represent substantial agreement between Downtown’s residents, businesses, and the film industry.

The specific nature of Downtown Los Angeles is unique in Southern California. Downtown Los Angeles serves as the largest employment center west of Chicago, is the transit and cultural center of Southern California, and is now developing a residential density, along with strong entertainment, retail and nightlife components, which are projected to continue to increase markedly over the next 25 years. These overlapping uses and the vertical nature of the built environment present challenges and solutions not applicable anywhere else in Los Angeles.

Through the Special Conditions, we seek to mitigate resident and business conflicts related to location filming, while emphasizing the critical importance of the film industry in Los Angeles and maintaining Downtown as film-friendly community. The rapid rate of revitalization in Downtown Los Angeles over the past several years has resulted in a significant increase in residential and commercial uses in areas that were mostly vacant, and thus ideal locations for filming. These Special Conditions represent an effort by the representatives of the film industry and Downtown businesses and residents to establish guidelines that will allow all parties to conduct their business with a minimum of interference, onerous regulation, or extra cost.

The Special Conditions set standard filming hours (6 a.m. to 11 p.m.) within a specific radius (100 feet) around residential buildings in Downtown. Within standard filming hours, normal film location activities may be conducted, as long as all laws and permits are followed. Outside of standard filming hours, signature surveys will be required to measure and address potential impact to neighbors of a film location. Impacts will be evaluated and permits issued outside of the standard filming hours at the discretion of the City through the City’s Designated Permit Authority (currently Film L.A.). Extraordinary impacts, such as helicopters, gunfire, and street closures, already require more stringent notification.

We also recognize that there are mitigation factors that the Special Conditions cannot adequately address, and we request that the City:

1. Hold Motion Picture Police Accountable: Some motion picture police officers refrain from adequately enforcing film permits, which only leads to location burnout, leaving residents unhappy with filming and production companies with fewer location choices in Los Angeles. It is critical that the City require motion picture police to update their licenses, receive regular training, and ensure compliance of film permits and conditions. Residents and businesses must know that they can approach the motion picture police with inquiries and concerns and receive appropriate and courteous responses.

2. Empower the City’s Designated Permit Authority to Address Neighborhood Concerns: The City must grant the City’s Designated Permit Authority the authority to determine when it is appropriate to restrict filming on City streets for a short period of time (due to over-filming or cumulative community impacts). In order to do this fairly and effectively, the City must give the City’s Designated Permit Authority guidelines to follow.

Affirm a Monitor Program: We believe that a monitor program run through the City’s Designated Permit Authority would be helpful in facilitating the resolution of neighborhood concerns. The City should determine where and when it is appropriate to have monitors available to address community needs.

We appreciate your attention to addressing the Downtown community’s concerns with filming, while ensuring that Los Angeles remains the entertainment capital of the world. We look forward to discussing the Special Conditions and these requests with you.


Special Conditions for Location Filming in Downtown Los Angeles

a. Downtown Los Angeles, for the purposes of these conditions, shall be defined as the area North to South from the 101 Freeway to the 10 Freeway; East to West from the Los Angeles River to the 110 Freeway.

b. The Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council boundaries (DLANC boundaries), for the purpose of these conditions, shall be defined as bordered on the North and East at the 101 Freeway from the 110 Freeway east to Los Angeles Street, south to 4th Street, east to Alameda Street, south to 7th Street, east to the Los Angeles River; on the South by the 10 Freeway from the 110 Freeway to the Los Angeles River; on the West by 110 Freeway from the 10 Freeway to the 101 Freeway. (This area is the same area as defined above as Downtown Los Angeles, but excludes the Little Tokyo and Arts District neighborhoods.)

c. Residential buildings shall be defined as any building with legal residential occupants (mixed-use, adaptive reuse, artist-in-residence (A.I.R.), SROs, residential hotels, condominiums and apartment buildings). DLANC will maintain an accurate and contemporary listing of all residential buildings showing a 100-foot radius from each building so as to identify any areas both inside and outside of that radius.

d. The Broadway Entertainment District (aka Broadway Theatre District), for the purposes of these Conditions, shall be defined north to south as Broadway from 3rd Street to Olympic Boulevard, and east to west from Frank Court to Lindley Place (aka St. Vincent Alley Court), or the equivalent mid-block point to either of these alleys where the alley is not present, including any theater loading facilities, defined as any public or private surface parking lot, parking garage, public street or curb area adjacent to, or utilized by, a theater. If, in the future, the City chooses to designate an official Broadway Entertainment District, the rules governing uses within that District will supersede these Filming Conditions within the boundaries of that designation.

a. Filming activity, or any production-related activity including but not limited to activities such as base camps, catering, generators, etc., within the DLANC boundaries is restricted to the hours of 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. within a 100-foot radius of any residential building. Filming activity in the Broadway Entertainment District is restricted to the hours of 6:00 a.m. to Midnight within a 50-foot radius of any residential building. No extension of the standard filming hours for filming or any disruptive production-related activity shall be allowed until a signature survey has been properly submitted. Proof of signature surveys shall be made available to DLANC upon request.

b. No film permits may be issued along Main and Spring Streets from 2nd to 9th Streets, or on any block of 2nd through 9th Streets between Los Angeles and Spring during the Downtown Art Walk, currently held on the second Thursday of each month. Filming inside of private buildings or entirely on private property during this time is permitted so long as there are no external impacts.

c. No filming may be conducted in close proximity to major public events anywhere in Downtown Los Angeles as permitted by the LAPD, or identified with 30 days notice to the City’s Designated Permit Authority by DLANC. Film permits may be considered in light of major public events on a case-by-case basis so long as their issuance will not cause further disruption to Downtown businesses and residents during such events.

a. A film permit may include only 300 feet of curb lane per city block for the parking of film production vehicles, crew or equipment. Requests for additional amounts of curb lane shall require a signature survey. The Broadway Entertainment District is exempt from this restriction.

b. Production personnel (and equipment utilized by the production company) shall not block the sidewalk area in front of an open commercial business or a residential building, including residential patios, windows, doorways, or entryways, unless the production company has secured the permission of the merchant and/or property owner. Where the commercial business is one that is primarily open in the evening and nighttime hours, the production company, their cast and crew may not block the access to and signage of such establishment (as seen from the street), without permission of the merchant and/or property owner during the hours of operation of the business.

c. Customers, employees, residents, and guests of affected properties shall be allowed free ingress/egress to all buildings, merchants, and parking facilities. Arrangements shall be made to ensure access to deliveries, trash pickup, residential move-in/move-out, and vendor access to the properties/merchants during productions.

d. All commercial businesses must prominently post hours of operation and contact phone numbers, and residential buildings must have a designated contact person authorized to give permission. Special events held by commercial businesses, outside of normal business hours, must also be posted in advance, and production companies must provide full access and visibility during such events.

a. Generators, portable toilets or toilet vehicles, and outdoor food preparation using charcoal or gas grills must be a minimum of 50 feet from any residential window or entrance. If it is physically impossible for a generator to be a minimum of 50 feet from residential windows or entrances, the generator shall be placed as far away as possible and vented away from residential windows and entrances. However, under no circumstances shall a generator be placed directly underneath a residential window.

b. Film productions must focus lighting on the filming area only and make every effort to shield the lighting from adjacent properties, pedestrians, and patrons of commercial businesses at all times. Exceptional lighting (e.g., Musco and Bebee lighting) outside of regular filming hours shall not be allowed without a signature survey of the affected merchants and/or property owners. Under no circumstances shall lighting be directed onto oncoming traffic.

c. Film production companies are required to completely remove all trash, food, and cardboard boxes, etc. from the general vicinity at the end of each filming day. Film production companies will be held responsible for the actions of catering companies they employ to provide food for the cast and crew.

a. Helicopters shall not be granted permits for landing at non-certified helipads before 7:00 a.m. and after 10:00 p.m. All aerial filming productions must provide upon request a copy of an approved FAA Form 7711-2, or other official waiver, along with a copy of the briefing on the flight operations for all participating persons or property.

b. No film permit shall be construed as a waiver of 14 CFR § 91.119, 14 CFR § 91.515(a) or 14 CFR § 91.303(e), dictating federal flight altitude regulations, for purposes of non-participating persons or property (see attachment).

c. Notification beyond the standard 500-foot radius will be made to affected residents and merchants for exceptional filming impacts, defined as street closures, gunfire, explosions, and/or helicopter activity, that occur between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. Exceptional filming impacts must be preceded by notifications at least two days in advance. The City’s Designated Permit Authority or the production company shall consult a designated DLANC representative when an applicant requests a permit for exceptional filming impacts with less than two days notice.

a. The City’s Designated Permit Authority will ensure that the impact from filming at recurrently used locations is minimized to the affected residents and businesses.

b. No Intermittent Traffic Control (ITC) shall be permitted during Rush Hours (7:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday). No simultaneous closures or ITC of both the Second and Third Street Tunnels will be permitted seven days a week.

c. Production companies shall request the posting of “no parking” signs, lane or street closures with LADOT for the day(s) that they are “on site” only. When closures are not necessary for the day(s) requested, production companies shall report the changes to the City’s Designated Permit Authority, who shall notify LADOT, who must revise and/or remove parking signs, as necessary.

d. Production companies must provide adequate detour and directional signage when street closures are in place, conforming to current LADOT standards and practices. Detour routes must accommodate large, semi and tractor trailer trucks and public transit vehicles.

a. In accordance with the terms of their work permit issued from LAPD, off-duty or retired police officers must, upon reporting to a work site, review and ensure compliance with conditions outlined on the filming permit. Officers shall ensure compliance with arrival and departure time, and shall not allow any activity or conduct that is in violation of local or state law, nor allow any filming condition that is not authorized by the permit. Variations from the requirements of the permit are not allowed unless approved by an authorized representative of the City’s Designated Permit Authority.

(Note: The following are the most current federal flight altitude regulations as of November 2007. The regulations could change at any time.)

§ 91.119 Minimum safe altitudes: General.

Except when necessary for takeoff or landing, no person may operate an aircraft below the following altitudes:
(a) Anywhere. An altitude allowing, if a power unit fails, an emergency landing without undue hazard to persons or property on the surface.
(b) Over congested areas. Over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons, an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft.
(c) Over other than congested areas. An altitude of 500 feet above the surface, except over open water or sparsely populated areas. In those cases, the aircraft may not be operated closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure.
(d) Helicopters. Helicopters may be operated at less than the minimums prescribed in paragraph (b) or (c) of this section if the operation is conducted without hazard to persons or property on the surface. In addition, each person operating a helicopter shall comply with any routes or altitudes specifically prescribed for helicopters by the Administrator.

§ 91.515 Flight altitude rules.

(a) Notwithstanding §91.119, and except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, no person may operate an airplane under VFR at less than—
(1) One thousand feet above the surface, or 1,000 feet from any mountain, hill, or other obstruction to flight, for day operations; and
(2) The altitudes prescribed in §91.177, for night operations.

§ 91.303 Aerobatic flight.

No person may operate an aircraft in aerobatic flight—
(a) Over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement;
(b) Over an open air assembly of persons;
(c) Within the lateral boundaries of the surface areas of Class B, Class C, Class D, or Class E airspace designated for an airport;
(d) Within 4 nautical miles of the center line of any Federal airway;
(e) Below an altitude of 1,500 feet above the surface; or
(f) When flight visibility is less than 3 statute miles.

For the purposes of this section, aerobatic flight means an intentional maneuver involving an abrupt change in an aircraft's attitude, an abnormal attitude, or abnormal acceleration, not necessary for normal flight.

[Doc. No. 18834, 54 FR 34308, Aug. 18, 1989, as amended by Amdt. 91– 227, 56 FR 65661, Dec. 17, 1991]