Monrovia Approves Agreement with Company to Process Film Permits

The agreement will not cost the city because FilmL.A. will get its fees from the production companies that choose to shoot in town.

Monrovia now has an independent company in charge of coordinating and processing film permits for the city.

The city has made an agreement with FilmL.A., Inc., to handle the permit process and monitor filming around town.

The Monrovia City Council unanimously approved the agreement, which goes from Dec. 15 through June 30, 2014, last week.

Under the agreement, there will be no costs to the city associated with the contract, according to staff.  The company will collect its fees from the production companies.

The Community Development Department has been in charge of processing and issuing filming permits and monitoring activities. Some film permits can be issued with minimal staff time, but others require "considerable hands-on involvement" such as multiple visits to the site and responding the questions and concerns from businesses, according to Diane Delmatoff, management analyst.

"The issuance of film permits poses unique challenges since it is impossible to predict when a request will come in or how much time issuing the permit will require," Delmatoff wrote in the staff report to the council. "Department staff levels have made it difficult to handle this task in a timely and professional manner."

Mayor Pro Tem Becky Shevlin said that the city did not have filming for the last six months and asked if the new agreement would help bring production companies to town.

Community Development Director Steve Sizemore said that one of FilmL.A.'s functions is to promote sites for filming as well, so Monrovia would likely benefit. The staff will take incremental steps and make sure that the agreement works for the city and the company, he said.

"What we found in the downtown is you can only have a certain amount of permits over the years before the merchants start to get a little aggravated," he said. "We want to reach a nice balance where it brings in the income but doesn't impact businesses."

Mayor Mary Ann Lutz said she likes that the agreement keeps the liaison in place who merchants can go to with concerns, as well as that the contract is six months to start. She asked that the staff report back to council about the number of productions in town.

"I think we have something that we can really work with here," Lutz said.


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