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Town Passes Filming Law








Town Passes Filming Law



At it’s May 18th meeting, the North Hempstead Town Board voted unanimously to approve a new law regulating filming on public property.  The law, written and introduced by Councilman Fred L. Pollack, attempts to minimize the public disturbance caused by filming by establishing permitted hours as well as notice requirements for adjacent property owners.


While the Town is frequently used for shooting television and movies, the lack of a clear law regulating it has, at times, caused problems.  “There was an incident recently where film crews shut down a street without any notice to the Town or neighboring homeowners, and remained working until 2:00am,” said Councilman Pollack.  “After speaking to the residents who were disrupted by this, it was clear that new legislation was needed.”



The law requires an applicant to describe the time and location that filming will occur, as well as the number of crew members, vehicles, and amount of equipment that will be on site.  Further, local police and fire departments must be notified by the applicant prior to filming to ensure emergency services are not disrupted.



Councilman Pollack encourages people to contact his office with any suggestions or comments at 516-869-7706 or pollackf@northhempsteadny.gov.  A copy of the new law is below.


LOCAL LAW NO.  4 OF 2010




Section 1.        Legislative Intent.

The Board finds that it is in the best interest of the Town of North Hempstead to establish Chapter 36 of the Town Code entitled AMovies and Filming@in order to require a permit to be obtained from the Town Clerk before anyone can use public land for filming or use a public sidewalk or other public property in conjunction with filming on private property. 



Section 2.                                                                                           


Chapter 36 of the Town Code is hereby established as follows:


§ 36-1.  Legislative intent.


The Town Board of the Town of North Hempstead recognizes that the Town's natural beauty, geographical location and historical sites are attractive to individuals, organizations, corporations, groups and other entities involved in the businesses of still photography, motion pictures and television. 


It is hereby found by the Town Board of the Town of North Hempstead that such filming activities may create a threat to public safety, health or welfare due to the time, location or duration of the filming, or may unduly interfere with vehicular and/or pedestrian traffic, it is necessary to provide for the regulation of the taking of still or motion pictures within the Town through the issuance of permits; that the said regulation is a matter affecting the public interest and therefore should be subject to supervision and administrative control for the purpose of safeguarding the public against the impact of such activities.



§ 36-2.  Definitions



A.        Whenever used in this Chapter, words used in the singular include the plural, and vice versa, and pronouns used in the masculine gender also include the feminine, and vice versa. 



B.        For the purposes of this Chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:



EQUIPMENT-- shall include, but is not limited to, television, photographic, film, digital or videocameras or transmitting television equipment, including radio remotes, props, sets, lights, backdrops, electric and grip equipment, dolly tracks, screens, or microphone devices, and any and all production related materials.  “Equipment” shall not include (i) a "Handheld Device," as defined herein, and (ii) vehicles, as defined in Vehicle and Traffic Law §159, that are used solely to transport a person or persons while engaged in the activity of Filming from within such vehicle, operated in compliance with relevant traffic laws and rules.



FILMING – The taking of still or motion pictures, either on film, videotape, digital or similar recording medium, for commercial or educational purposes intended for viewing on television, the internet, or in theatres or for institutional use.  Filming includes all rehearsals, preparations and assembly and dismantling of all equipment and structures, including but not limited to scaffolding, lights, backdrops, tools and food, and the loading and unloading of vehicles containing the equipment, structures and food.



HANDHELD DEVICE-- shall mean (i) film, still or television camera, video or digital camera, or other equipment held in the photographer's or filmmaker’s hand, carried at all times with the photographer or filmmaker during the course of filming, and not requiring the use of cables or any other item or equipment not carried by the photographer or filmmaker at all times during the course of photography, filming or transmission; or (ii) tripods used to support film, still, television cameras, video cameras or digital cameras.



INCIDENTAL USE OF PUBLIC LANDS - Public lands used in conjunction with filming that occurs on private property. 


PERSON-- Any individual, partnership, corporation, organization, association, limited liability company, partnership, society or any other legal entity.



PRIVATE PROPERTY – Any property other than public lands.



PUBLIC LANDS – Any and every public street, highway, sidewalk or square, public park or playground, public waters, waterfront property or other public place within the Town which is within the jurisdiction and control of the Town or involving the use of any Town owned or maintained facilities or equipment or of a special district within the Town for which the Town Board serves as the Board of Commissioners.



§ 36-3.  Permits



A.    No person shall film or allow Filming on Public Lands within the Town of North Hempstead without first obtaining a permit therefor from the Town Clerk in accordance with this Chapter, except as provided for in §36-4 hereof.



B.     No person shall film or allow Filming on Private Property within the Town of North Hempstead without first obtaining a permit from the Town Clerk in accordance with this Chapter when such Filming shall result in an Incidental Use of Public Lands, except as provided for in §36-4 hereof.  Any Incidental Use of Public Lands that obstructs any Public Lands or interferes with the use of any Public Lands requires a permit; provided, however, that nothing contained in this section shall prevent persons from temporarily loading or unloading Filming equipment on any public right-of-way, provided that such loading or unloading be done without unnecessary delay and provided that such Filming equipment is not allowed or permitted to remain on such public right-of-way for a period longer than 15 minutes.



C.     Permits shall be obtained in the office of the Town Clerk during normal business hours.  Applications for such permits shall be in accordance with § 36-5 and shall be accompanied by a permit fee in the amount established by the Town.



D.    One (1) permit shall be required for each location.



E.     A permit shall authorize Filming for one (1) day only at one (1) location only, whether such Filming shall occur indoors or outdoors, provided that such date on which Filming is to take place shall be specified in the permit.



F.      The maximum number of consecutive days on which Filming may be authorized shall not exceed three (3), without a waiver pursuant to this Chapter.



G.    If a permit is issued and due to inclement weather or other good cause, not within the control of the applicant, Filming does not in fact take place on the date or dates specified, the Town Clerk may, at the request of the applicant, issue an amended permit for Filming on other dates subject to full compliance with all other provisions of this Chapter.  No additional fee shall be required for an amended permit under this section.


§ 36-4.  Exemptions


Notwithstanding the requirements of this Chapter, the Filming activities designated below do not require a permit to be obtained pursuant to this Chapter, if such activity does not obstruct or interfere with the use of any Public Lands.  For purposes of this subparagraph, the term “obstruct or interfere with the use of any Public Lands” shall mean any Filming activity which impedes or which involves the blockage, interruption or closure, in whole or in part, of any Public Lands.



  1. Filming and coverage by news media.


  1. Filming by and intended for the exclusive use of the owner and his/her immediate family.


  1. Filming occurring on Public Lands or on Private Property resulting in an Incidental Use of Public Lands, and involving the use of a Handheld Device, as defined herein.


  1. Filming occurring at a Town of North Hempstead park or other facility in which the Town Board has established, or establishes, by local law or resolution, a fee schedule and/or policy governing rules of conduct for such activity.  In such instances, said fee schedule and/or policy shall be complied with in all respects.      

§ 36-5.  Applications for permit.

Applications shall be obtained from and submitted to the Town Clerk in person or by mail and must contain at least the following information:


            A.                The name, address and telephone number of the applicant.

            B.                 The name, address and telephone number of the person or entity making the film.

            C.                 The name, address and telephone number of the location coordinator or other contact person.

            D.                The location of the property where Filming, etc., is to take place.

            E.                 Whether the applicant is the owner or tenant in possession of the property.

            F.                  The name and address of the owner of the property if the applicant is not the owner.

            G.                The consent of the owner if other than the applicant.

            H.                The date Filming is to take place and the hours of Filming.

            I.                   A list and description of all vehicles and their license plate numbers, including the applicant's vehicles and vehicles of the applicant's personnel.

            J.                   A list and description of all props, sets and equipment to be used in connection with the Filming.

            K.                Any other approval the Town Clerk deems necessary, together with any conditions which may be set forth. 
A signed statement that the applicant affirms, under penalty of perjury, that all statements contained in the application are true.


§ 36-6.  Rules and Regulations



A.    No permit shall be issued for Filming within the Town of North Hempstead unless the applicant for such permit:

(1)   Provides proof of insurance coverage for damage to property in the amount of Two Hundred Fifty Thousand ($250,000.00) Dollars for any single claim and for any aggregate occurrence in the amount of One Million ($1,000,000.00) Dollars; for bodily injury for any person in the amount of Five Hundred ($500,000.00) Dollars and for any aggregate occurrence in the amount of Two Million ($2,000,000.00) Dollars.  Each such insurance policy shall name the Town of North Hempstead as an additional insured party.


(2)   Agrees, in writing, to indemnify and hold harmless the Town of North Hempstead from any and all liability or damages resulting from the use of such Public Lands.



B.     The holder of a permit shall take all reasonable steps to minimize interference with the free passage of pedestrians and traffic over Public Lands and shall comply with all lawful directives issued by the Police Department or by the Town with respect thereto.



C.     The holder of a permit shall conduct Filming in such a manner as to minimize the inconvenience or discomfort  to adjoining property owners and/or residents which is attributable to such Filming and shall, to the extent practicable, abate noise and park vehicles associated with such Filming off the public streets.  The holder shall avoid any interference with previously scheduled activities on Public Lands and shall limit, to the extent possible, any interference with normal public activity on such Public Lands.



D.    The holder of a permit shall take all reasonable steps to minimize the creation and spread of debris, litter and rubbish during Filming and shall be responsible for removing all equipment, debris, litter and other rubbish from the Filming location upon the completion of Filming or the expiration of the permit, whichever comes first.



E.     The holder of a permit shall notify the appropriate Police and Fire Departments that it intends to film at the authorized location not less than forty-eight hours before such Filming shall commence.



F.      The holder of a permit that will allow the closing of a sidewalk, street or other Public Lands, shall notify all properties directly affected by such closing, in writing, not less than forty-eight hours before such closing shall begin.



G.    Unless the Town Board provides otherwise by resolution:


 i.                              Filming and related activities shall only be permitted between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. 

   ii.                              The arrival and setup of equipment and vehicles and the breakdown of such equipment and vehicles at the end of the Filming shall be accomplished within the permitted time period. 



§ 36-7. Review by the Town Clerk


A.    The Town Clerk shall, upon receipt of a complete application for a permit under this Chapter, communicate with the appropriate Police Department, Fire Department and Town Department(s) for such Public Lands for which the permit is sought and shall request a written recommendation from each such agency as to whether the proposed Filming could be done without creating a danger to the public or a public nuisance.  Upon written recommendation from said agency(ies) having jurisdiction, the Town Clerk shall have the authority to require one or more on-site police patrolmen, or fire prevention and/or emergency responders, or additional private security, or such other licensed personnel as may be deemed appropriate, the cost of which, in its entirety, shall be borne by the applicant as a cost of production.



B.     The Town Clerk may refuse to issue a permit after a review of the application, whenever a determination is made that the proposed Filming would violate any law or ordinance or would unreasonably interfere with the public’s use of Public Lands, unreasonably interfere with the use and enjoyment of adjoining properties, unreasonably impede the flow of vehicular or pedestrian traffic, would be detrimental to the community because of anticipated excessive noise, illumination or other effect caused by the proposed Filming, including but not limited to a potentially dangerous activity or creation of a dangerous condition, such as the use of explosives, the use of stunts, helicopters, firearms or simulated firearms, or otherwise endanger the public’s health, safety or welfare.  Such refusal shall be in writing and shall specify the reasons for the refusal.



§ 36-8. Appeals to the Town Board


Any person aggrieved by a decision of the Town Clerk, denying or revoking a permit may appeal to the Town Board.  A written notice of appeal setting forth the reasons for the appeal shall be filed with the Town Clerk within ten (10) days of the Town Clerk’s decision.  The Town Board shall review such appeal within 30 days from the day on which the notice of appeal is filed, or at such other time as may be reasonably practicable, and may reverse, modify or affirm the action of the Town Clerk upon a finding that the action of the Town Clerk was arbitrary, capricious or not supported by substantial evidence.  The Town Board shall render a decision in the form of a resolution.  The decision and order of the Town Board on such appeal shall be final and conclusive. 



§ 36-9. Fees


The fee for a permit under this Chapter shall be set according to the amount indicated in the Town of North Hempstead Permit Fee Schedule



§ 36-10. Penalties for Offenses



A.        The violation of any provision of this Chapter shall be punishable by a fine of not less than One Thousand Five Hundred ($1,500.00) Dollars nor more than Two Thousand Five Hundred ($2,500.00) Dollars for a first offense; by a fine of not less than Two Thousand Five Hundred ($2,500.00) Dollars nor more than Five Thousand ($5,000.00) Dollars for a second or subsequent offense committed within a period of three years.  Each day’s continued violation shall be a separate additional violation of this Chapter.



B.        The imposition of such fine shall not be the Town’s exclusive remedy in the event of a violation of this Chapter.  The Town may pursue any and all other legal remedies available to it in connection with any violation of this Chapter.


§ 36-11. Waiver



The Town Board may authorize a waiver of the requirements and/or limitations of this Chapter by resolution whenever it determines that strict compliance with such limitations or requirements will pose an unreasonable burden upon the applicant and that such license may be issued without endangering the public’s health, safety or welfare.  In such instances, the Town Board may attach additional conditions and safeguards to ensure the orderly conduct of the activity and to minimize the impact of such use.



§ 36-12.  Permit Suspension in Emergency Circumstances



A.                During the course of Filming, any authorized Town code enforcement official or a police officer of the appropriate police agency may suspend any permit where public health or safety risks are found or where exigent circumstances warrant such action. 



B.                 Where a suspension lasting longer than six hours occurs, permittees may appeal to the Town Board in the manner prescribed in § 36-8 hereof. 



§ 36-13.  When effective



This ordinance shall take effect immediately.



Section 3.                                                                                                                   


This Local Law shall take effect immediately upon filing with the Secretary of State.



Chapter 36:

Town of North Hempstead Filming Permit Fee Schedule



In accordance with Town Code ' 36-9, the schedule of fees for the issuance of permits authorized by Chapter 36 are as follows:

A.                Base fee for daily filming permit: $500 per day (includes up to two vehicles and three crew members with no additional charge).


B.                 Three or more vehicles: $100 per vehicle.


C.                 Four or more crew members: $50 per individual.


D.                Use of Town owned or maintained facility: $1000 per hour.


E.                 Use of any public street, highway or sidewalk which requires closure: $1000 per hour.


F.                  Exceptions: There shall be no filming permit fee for not-for-profit applicants filming for educational purposes or filming by students currently enrolled in a recognized or accredited educational institution, such as a public or private school, college or university.  Satisfactory proof of such not-for-profit status or enrollment shall be presented to the Town Clerk upon filing the permit application pursuant to Town Code § 36-5. 


Expedited Filming Permit Fee

In addition, to the permit fee: $150 for an expedited application (less than seven days prior to the shooting date).


Permit Fees: Non Refundable

All filming permit fees are non-refundable.  In the event that a permit issued pursuant to Chapter 36 is suspended or revoked, the applicant shall not be entitled to a refund of any portion of the fee, except as otherwise provided by the Town Board.


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