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.