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In preemptive move, Southold considers amending town code on filming

Southold Supervisor Scott Russell said the town began

Southold Supervisor Scott Russell said the town began considering changing its filming code after Showtime recently shot scenes for its new series, "Three Women," in New Suffolk. Credit: Randee Daddona

The Southold Town Board is considering a proposal to change how film permits are granted after a recent Showtime television production in New Suffolk.

With the popularity of Southold as a filming area growing in recent years, officials want to make sure future film productions will not create any potential parking issues.

The change would amend sections of the town code that list rules for filming in Southold. The board voted at its Nov. 16 meeting to hear from the public at 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 14 at Town Hall.

Southold Supervisor Scott Russell said the town began considering changing its filming code after Showtime recently shot scenes for its new series, "Three Women," in New Suffolk.

Russell and other town board officials have said the film company had complied with the current code during the filming — which took place at a King Street property near the Peconic Bay with roughly 50 vehicles on location — and had accommodated and mitigated requests town officials made regarding parking. The town issued the necessary permits for the production.

Russell said Tuesday he contacted the applicants to address potential parking issues before production, as he was concerned the filming would "overload a small, tiny hamlet that just can't accommodate that kind of activity."

However, with New Suffolk's small size and anticipating film companies’ future interest in filming in Southold Town, officials say going forward they need more details earlier from such companies about how to mitigate any potential issues in advance.

Showtime representatives declined to comment.

Changing the film code would allow the town to adjust and accommodate for issues regarding parking in scheduled filming areas "rather than try to do it at the last minute," Russell said.

The proposed code changes also include:

• Requiring production companies to submit a parking plan for vehicles during filming.

• The name, address and telephone number of the applicant seeking the filming permit.

• Requiring production companies to submit a plan for the use of live outdoor effects, loudspeakers and other sounds during filming as well as the location of speakers or other audio equipment.

The applicants would have to submit such information to the town clerk at least 30 days before filming starts.

The popularity of Southold as a filming area has grown in recent years, with the town now getting between one and two requests annually compared with one request every four or five years, Russell said.

"(The proposed code change) is not just to benefit the town, and it's certainly not to overly regulate these types of activities. In fact, we're trying to promote the types of things that bring income into town," Russell said. "It's just about getting some clarity on what's going to take place and how to work with the applicants to make sure it goes as smoothly as possible."

Correction: A previous version of the story incorrectly stated the location of the filming.

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