Pitkin County not anxious to loosen filming regs | AspenTimes.com

Pitkin County not anxious to loosen filming regs

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – Pitkin County may come up with a permit application that is specific to film and commercial shoots, but county commissioners didn’t express much interest Tuesday in loosening the regulations for such activities.

The existing application used for film activities is used for special events of all kinds. Some commissioners suggested a film-specific application will wind up requiring all the same information, but it was one idea that emerged at an October discussion, when a representative of the film industry said Pitkin County regulations could push away the lucrative industry.

Commissioners expressed no interest in lowering the fees the county charges to process a permit – currently $499 for a minor production (two hours of staff time) and $1,497 for a major one (six hours), plus $249 per additional hour – or in shortening the 60-day lead time they require for applications. Though the county wants an application 60 days before a shoot, permits are routinely processed in less time, according to Lance Clarke, assistant community development director.

The time allows various county agencies to weigh in and lets the county seek the input of affected residents and neighborhoods.

That citizen input is unusual, said Kevin Shand, Colorado film commissioner.

“You’re the only community I’m aware of in the state of Colorado that actively seeks community input,” he said.

Commissioners also appeared likely to retain the county’s prohibition on helicopter use in film and commercial shoots.

Shand said he sees a lot of requests to film in Pitkin County; a proposed national commercial shoot was turned down days after the October discussion because of the helicopter ban, he said. It would have meant “significant revenue to Pitkin County,” Shand said.

“I just think it’s a huge disturbance,” Commissioner Jack Hatfield said, advocating a continued ban on the use of helicopters.

“I’m not seeing that we do a lot wrong,” Hatfield said of the county’s regulations. “I actually think we do a lot right.”

Commissioner Rachel Richards suggested the county staff urge neighborhood caucuses to come up with some guidelines for filming in various areas – a step that might help streamline the process.


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