Barnegat Tightening Filming, Broadcasting Regulations

Apr 11, 2018
Source: Burger King

Last summer, the cast of MTV’s “Jersey Shore” reunited at the Barnegat Township Burger King to plug the fast food franchise’s new chicken parm sandwiches. In the TV spot, Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, Pauly D, Jenni “JWoww” Farley, Deena Cortese, Vinny Guadagnino and Sammi Giancola caught up on how life’s been since the series finale of the hit MTV show in 2012.

But an ordinance introduced April 3 by the Barnegat Township Committee, which would regulate entertainment industry events in the municipality, might have nixed the event had the measure been in place last year.

“The show attracts an element that we really do not care for in Barnegat,” said Mayor Frank Caputo. “All of us on the committee feel that way.”

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.

“These undesirable effects are particularly acute in residential neighborhoods, where residents have a legitimate and legally protectable right to be from unwanted and unnecessary intrusions into the peace and sanctity of their homes,” the ordinance says. “Both the federal and state judiciaries have repeatedly affirmed that the well-being, tranquility and the privacy of the home, and the quality of life and aesthetic character of neighborhoods, is a legitimate governmental interest justifying reasonable time, place and manner restrictions on expressive activities, including filmmaking and broadcasting.”

The ordinance requires a film or broadcast company to pay a $300 fee. But if the venture is going to require a traffic control plan, the company would have to pay $250 for lane and sidewalk closures, $400 for street closure and $600 for street, lane and sidewalk closures.  

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; or filming of limited duration intended primarily for personal, documentary or promotional purposes that does not involve a movie studio or production company.

Deputy Mayor Alfonso Cirulli said the ordinance is needed because the township “just can’t have an outright ban on filming and broadcasting.”

“They have First Amendment rights,” said Cirulli. “But we’re allowed to put procedures and safeguards in place so that any project will not adversely affect our community.”

A public heaing on the ordinance is scheduled for the next meeting, on Tuesday, May 1, at 10 a.m.

— Eric Englund

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