North Hempstead, flush with demand for lucrative but potentially disruptive TV and movie shoots, has passed new laws to make sure neighbors are aware of local filming.
The rules approved at last week's town board meeting require production companies to notify neighbors within 300 feet of a shoot. And just to make sure everyone is in the loop, town officials and local council members are to be notified at least three days before a scheduled shoot.
So goes diplomacy between "North Hempstead and Hollywood," as Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth put it.
"As a general rule of thumb, people want to be included as to what's going on," said Kim Kaiman, executive director of the town's Business and Tourism Development Corp., which coordinates filming in town.
Town officials said no noise complaints related to filming have been registered recently. But in the past, municipal officials have refereed disputes over neighbors' objections to filming.
Officials say they hope residents come to embrace the shoots, which are a good source of revenue for the town.
"We're making our expectations clear, so that they have a positive experience filming in our town," Kaiman said. "The idea is to get the residents excited about their presence and say this particular TV series is going to be there, stick around and enjoy the view."
For some, they have.
Homeowners in a Roslyn Heights block showed up with lawn chairs when the Amazon series "Red Oaks" shot scenes recently on their street. Town officials had made sure producers told neighbors.
"People automatically see a police car and think something is wrong," Kaiman said. She said the goal is for residents to be "included in the notification rather than guessing; the worst thing is never knowing what's going on."
Since the North Hempstead town board dropped cost-prohibitive fees in 2012, demand for filming in the town has soared. Producers say a New York State tax credit helps. And many locations in the town are within a 30-mile radius of Columbus Circle in Manhattan -- a "local" zone -- so production companies can avoid certain overtime costs set in union rules.
The town collected a record $86,000 in permit revenue in 2014. In 2015, the town has collected nearly $31,285 so far.
Producers come for the parks and waterfront views. A tourism commercial for North Carolina shot scenes in Port Washington. Gerry Pond Park, in Roslyn, plays the Hamptons in USA's "Royal Pains." The park is also Montauk in "The Affair." Also starring in "The Affair": Main Street in Port Washington.
A recent issue was jammed traffic on West Shore Road. The town has since banned filming on that street, a busy Port Washington thoroughfare. A recent production on that road used more of the street than officials had anticipated, they said.
Dina De Giorgio, the councilwoman who represents Port Washington, requested that town board members be informed of filming and have the option to weigh in on permits.
"This goes to a larger picture: We're thrilled the town is such a popular location for TV and film, but our first obligation is to our residents," Bosworth said.