Supervisors Give Final OK to County’s Film-Friendly Ordinance
RIVERSIDE – The Riverside County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a revised film ordinance that makes permitting easier and eliminates virtually all fees for producers of movies and TV shows made in unincorporated areas of Riverside County.
“With the help of several individuals who added their incredible knowledge about the film industry, Riverside County has adopted a very film-friendly ordinance to attract an important industry that we’ve lost to other states and countries,” said Supervisor John J. Benoit. “We know these changes will have a positive effect, and we’re encouraging all cities to join us in making Riverside County the pre-eminent place for film and TV production.”
After attending the Toronto Film Festival with Lee Fraser, a Warner Bros. executive and president of the Canada California Business Council, Supervisor Benoit in December directed the Economic Development Agency to review the county’s film ordinance which had not been changed since 1988. Supervisor Stone joined him in that request.
The county brought together Fraser; Steve Saxton, CEO of Hollywood Studio International; and entertainment attorney Tom Ara of Reed Smith, LLP; whose suggestions were incorporated in the ordinance. As required, the changes were submitted, reviewed and approved by the California State Film Commission before they were brought back to the supervisors for approval.
The revised ordinance eliminates the film permit fee and requirement for a business license and waives charges for the use of county facilities for projects lasting 10 days or less and transient occupancy taxes for 48 months. Additionally, a one-stop film permit processing center will be established and a contact will be designated for the film and TV industry. The county also will unveil a Web site to promote the county’s unique attributes for filming locations.
“I enthusiastically support these changes, which will stimulate job growth and investment in the County of Riverside,” said Supervisor Jeff Stone. “We have tremendous potential to bring this business back to its Southern California origins and help our hardware stores, gas stations, merchants, hotels and restaurants.”
The vote occurred at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting. The ordinance will take effect in 30 days.