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County permitted Stevenson Ranch filming

Posted: October 19, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: October 19, 2012 2:00 a.m.

When a thundering helicopter hovered over the Stevenson Ranch community Wednesday night, and residents witnessed ambulances with flashing lights and roads blocked by police cars, they flooded the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Department with more than 50 calls.

One caller said the scene was reminiscent of the shooting, blockade and house fire in Stevenson Ranch in 2001 that resulted in the death of a sheriff’s deputy and a resident.

All the commotion, however, turned out to be the result of local filming — not an emergency situation.

The film permit was issued by Los Angeles County, said Russell Sypowicz, economic development associate for the city of Santa Clarita’s Film Office.

“The only thing we know of that was permitted to film yesterday was by a production company, The Directors Bureau,” Sypowicz said. “Based on the information we get from Film L.A., it was a commercial for Cisco.”

Film L.A. is the entity that issues those permits for the county, he said.

The private nonprofit’s website states the organization works “to strike a balance between the needs and interests of the entertainment industry and the neighborhoods affected by on-location production.”

Film L.A. also commits to providing “advance notification of filming” to residents.

But, apparently some 50 Stevenson Ranch residents who called law enforcement were unaware of the film project.

Two calls to Film L.A. officials seeking information about the permitting and resident notification process went unreturned.

Film L.A. employees fielding calls from the media would not describe the organization’s notification process or even confirm that it even issues permits for the county.

Finally, in a call to the organization’s center that handles filming concerns from residents, an employee said the process is that all residents within a 500 foot radius of the film location should be notified by door hangers on home doors or gates.

The employee also said Film L.A. issues the permits for unincorporated areas of L.A. County, such as Stevenson Ranch.

Film L.A. was created by the city and county of Los Angeles when the two entities decided to have their film permitting handled by a private agency. Most film permit offices are publicly funded government agencies.




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