Barnegat Says ‘Cut’ to Filming, Videotaping Ordinance

May 09, 2018

An ordinance introduced last month by the Barnegat Township Committee to regulate entertainment industry events in the municipality was tabled at its Tuesday morning meeting on May 1. Township Committeman Albert Bille recommended the action, noting that the state Senate recently introduced legislation that provides corporation business tax and gross income tax credit for certain expenses incurred for production of certain films and digital media content. If signed into law, the legislation would be designated as the Garden State Film and Digital Media Jobs Act.

“Our attorney (Sean Kean) needs some time to research this bill, to see what implications there are for Barnegat,” said Bille. 

The ordinance says that while filming and broadcasting can bring positive exposure and economic benefits to a community, in many instances these activities “can have negative side effects, unrelated to the subject matter or expressive content of the film or broadcast, that can seriously disrupt peace and good order or impose unanticipated costs on the township, particularly the additional police protection, emergency medical services and public works department services often required.”

It notes that some of the side effects generated can include traffic and parking problems created by trucks and trailers used to store equipment and house cast members, crowds of onlookers, excessive noise and lighting, and activities extending well into the late night or early morning, disturbing neighbors’ peace and quiet enjoyment.

The ordinance says permits would not be issued if the filming or broadcasting poses an unreasonable risk of personal injury or property damage, would unreasonably impede the free flow of vehicular or pedestrian traffic, endanger the public’s safety, negatively affect residents’ quality of life, negatively impact local businesses, unduly strain township resources and if cast or crew members had criminal records. 

Activities exempt from the ordinance include filming or broadcasting a parade, rally, protest or demonstration, coverage of news events or matters of public importance.

Prior to tabling the measure, the committee took public comments on the ordinance.

“I think this is a violation of the First Amendment,” said resident Phil Checchia. “You can’t tell what film companies and TV network can or cannot do.”

Kean said any ordinance adopted would be “content neutral.”

“The ordinance is mostly concerned with matters of public safety when filming or videotaping,” he said. —E.E.

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.