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Covington Council to consider nighttime filming policy

COVINGTON -- Mayor Ronnie Johnston has asked Covington officials to establish policies related to filming in residential areas.

Following complaints about the television show "The Vampire Diaries" filming in residential areas at nighttime, Johnston and City Manager Steve Horton set a policy that required permission from 100 percent of homeowners within a 500-square-foot radius for any filming after 11 p.m.

Recently, five homeowners rejected the request to film, resulting in production for the show's Christmas episode to be moved to the Square.

Johnston said he'd like the council to weigh in on what the policy should be and figure out "how to develop a relationship and develop a standard to make sure our people are taken care of and still be film-friendly."

Johnston said the council needs to consider whether permission from 100 percent of homeowners should be required and what time restrictions should be in place. In California there are restrictions on filming after 10 p.m. versus 11 p.m., in residential areas, for example.

"Our citizens are our first responsibility, but we also have to look at the economic impact and make sure we do the best job we can to balance it out and make it fair," he said. "It does bring in revenue and jobs."

In other news, Johnston said there have been more than 60 applicants in the search for a new city manager. The city's consultant "is ecstatic about the quality of applicants we are getting," he said.

The council will be narrowing down the list of candidates in the coming weeks in preparation for making an appointment. Horton is set to retire Dec. 21.

Finally, the city has donated lighting for the Miracle League complex under construction at City Pond Park. The lighting is not for the field itself but for the walkways and parking area.

The council purchased the lights and poles from individual low bidders for each product, at a total cost of about $30,000. Four companies will supply the items: the Stuart C. Irby Company in Marietta; Wesco, of Fairburn; Gresco of Smarr, and the local Newton Electric. Councilman Chris Smith, who owns Newton Electric, recused himself from the vote.

"It's a donation, true enough, but it's an investment in community," Horton said. The items will be paid for out of the Electric Department budget.

Comments

The_Civil_Newtonian 1 year, 6 months ago

The good that this filming brings far outweighs a small and very temporary inconvenience for some residential people. Why must this come to laws and ordinances?

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Aurora 1 year, 6 months ago

Please explain the "good" that filming has brought to the residents of Covington? I don't see any way it's benefited our citizens to be inconvenienced by filming, to have our police officers used as private security for the filming crew (while they wear their police uniforms and use government equipment that was not purchased by the Vampire Diaries production company I might add). Please consider how YOU would feel if they were on YOUR street keeping you from getting to YOUR driveway and to have your street swarmed with crew members making noise after 10pm that keeps YOU awake all night so that you can hardly get up to go work at your own job in Atlanta. How about you become the one who gets to experience "a small and very temporary inconvenience?" Maybe then you could be considerate of your fellow citizens. The benefit to the city should not outweigh the rights of a citizen, even if it is only one citizen. This town needs new leadership, especially a new city manager.

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Ophelia 1 year, 6 months ago

Because laws are laws, and no one, not even the city should be above the law. If I am expected to work within the confines of an ordinance, then so should EVERYONE else. Secondly, the filming of a TV show is NO mere "temporary inconvenience." This production has taken place now over several years, for several months each year, and for several weeks each month. So explain to me how this is temporary? Shall we look up the definition of "temporary" in Merriam-Webster? If you are so supportive of the filming of this TV show in Covington/Newton County, then by ALL means, please invite them to film directly in front of your house, then maybe, just maybe, you will fully realize what a complete disruption this production imposes on the residents' personal peace, safety, and security.

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will 1 year, 6 months ago

The production company has filmed near my house many times and its not that big of a deal.I've negotiated with them in the past and have been given compensation for my troubles. Stop crying like a baby and take care of the issue, its not hard. As for the City Manager job I think we should look at one of the Carpenters they have done such a great job at Alcovy and on the BOE. I think they would bring a change to the city like hussein obama has brought to our country. This may just be the change this city is looking for. When the consultant used the word estatic all I could think of is how estatic the city would be to have one of the carpenters as our city manager. They would work well with Chris and Keith for sure.

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Ophelia 1 year, 6 months ago

No one is “crying like a baby.” We are simply discussing the issues we have come across in dealing with the production of the Vampire Diaries, and these issues ARE being addressed directly with the city. That is why the mayor is now trying to determine a cutoff time for filming. Let me ask you a question. You say that the show is filmed NEAR your house, but NOT directly in front of it? Trust me, if they filmed directly in front of your house as many times as they have mine and prevented you from even entering your own drive way or repeatedly woken you up during the night on a work night, you might have a different perspective. However, as I said, if you don't mind it, then please have them film around YOUR house anytime they want, but I definitely don't want them around mine. This has never and will never be an issue of money for me. The production company has offered money ($1000), only after we made complaints to the city, but it was declined. I DON'T want their money. I want to be left alone to live in peace in this nice, small, quiet, quaint town of Covington, GA. This is why I have lived her for 20+ years, but the disruption to my personal life is too much. By the way, there are multiple other legal issues that the production has been in violation of, not just the noise ordinance, which the city will have to address as well (violation of Federal laws by placing items in residential mailboxes without postage, blocking the safe passage of emergency vehicles, etc.).

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Billy 1 year, 6 months ago

There's no substitute for good manners. You shouldn't have to "ask" these people to be considerate; in addition, the city government should already have rules in place to protect residents from thoughtless, inconsiderate use of their neighborhoods. If I can hear something outside my home while inside, then it's a disturbance. We don't want to scare the movie makers away needlessly, but then again, we live here. Have some consideration in the first place, and that will make everyone more happy, and thus, we won't have to enact laws that could be avoided by simple consideration. Hard to believe you have to explain this to people...

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Aurora 1 year, 6 months ago

The issue isn't wanting to be compensated. I'm sorry you feel that a citizen wanting to protect their right to privacy, their right to be able to receive emergency services without delay due to blocked roads, their right to peace and quiet is merely "crying like a baby." I'll let VD know they can come set up their crew's equipment in front of your house since you won't mind as long as they compensate you. For some people, it isn't about the money.

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Ophelia 1 year, 6 months ago

Thank you! This crew and staff of this production company are rude, inconsiderate, and NEVER apologetic. Although I have my complaints with this production, I am not against filming in Covington. I understand that it can be good for the city, but not at the expense of its residents. The city definitely should have had regulations in place prior to the start of filming to ensure the safety, peace, and comfort of their own citizens. Although the city failed to do this at the outset, it is never too late to right a wrong...

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Covingtonian 1 year, 5 months ago

Good old Will. I'm willing to bet that you are a recent transplant to our lovely city. If I wanted to be in Hollywood I would move to California. These guys need to get a sound studio and off our streets causing traffic problems and disturbing our citizens. If everybody could feel the economic impact ( lowere utility payments) maybe some would be more inclined to put up with it but as already has been stated, "it's not about the money" . I find myself avoiding the Square and Floyd street because they film in these areas. People who come to see the filming or just to see where the show is filmed, many times jaywalk or cross the street in unmarked areas. What about the ciitizens who are not "down with" vampires because of religious reasons although silent because they don't like to cause problems, they too pay taxes. By the way I don't know who owns the old Dollar store across from the High Rise but the city should look into purchasing that property so that the senior citizens, their care givers and family members will have a place to park.

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Covingtonian 1 year, 5 months ago

I mention the High Rise because anytime the crews are on the Square the people in the High Rise recieves notices not to park in the lot or risk having their vehicles towed.

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will 1 year, 5 months ago

Covingtonian, I've lived here all my life so be careful about that bet of yours. These fans jaywalking sounds like a serious problem when we have a school system that is failing and hoodie wearing thugs breaking in homes and stealing from good people that work hard to EARN a living. I detour all the time when filming is going on and its not that big of a deal. When they film near my house it does get loud at times and it a minor issue. I do agree with you about the Dollar store, it needs to go. This is a show that is not real so if your uptight because of religious concerns loosen up its fake.

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