When it comes to filming in Las Vegas, there are a couple of interests to consider. One is what the movie-makers bring to town when they decide to shoot “on location” here. The crews can be enormous, and when they decide to stay here — eating at local establishments and sleeping in local accommodations — the monetary benefit for Las Vegas is significant.
However, when filming closes streets and blocks off traffic for days at a time, neighboring stores can take big hits in their revenue stream. If, for example, a film crew closes parts of Douglas Avenue — as Astronaut Farmer did a few years ago — retail outlets along Douglas can lose a day’s worth of revenue, and more if the shooting takes longer.
Closing a street for filming can disrupt residential living as well.
Imagine not being able to leave and enter your residence freely and you begin to understand why some people don’t appreciate movie-making in Las Vegas.
In response to residents’ and businesses’ concerns about these disruptions, the city placed some restrictions on the film industry. But, according, to film industry representatives, the city’s gone too far with its restrictions, and that’s why film-making in Las Vegas has dried up in the past year.
Last week, the Planning and Zoning Commission decided it’s best to loosen up those restrictions. Upon the recommendation by the Las Vegas Film Commission, instead of requiring a 45-day permitting process, commission members are recommending to the City Council that it be reduced to 14 days. Plus, they want to lift the requirement that filmmakers gather signatures of support from 61 percent of the business and residents affected by the filming. Other changes being proposed include an advanced public notification requirement for street closures and road blocks and a modest deposit in case a film company doesn’t clean up after itself.
The proposed changes sound reasonable, but we’re certain some will oppose them. Such opposition wasn’t at last week’s meeting, but we anticipate they’ll be there for the council’s public hearing on the matter.
And they should, because their concerns need to be heard and considered.
We hope the city can strike a balance between the needs of the film industry and the needs of our local businesses and residents. It would be a shame to see filmmaking come to an end in Las Vegas because the city’s rules are too strict, just as it would be wrong to allow filmmakers to run roughshod over the citizenry. How to create the best set of rules for both interests is now the challenge, and it should be taken on in a spirit of compromise. Let’s resolve this issue so that everyone wins.