POUND RIDGE, N.Y. – The Pound Ridge Town Board has decided to reconsider its permit process for companies looking to film movies and commercials in town in the wake of complaints received from residents after a recent shoot.
A film crew received a permit to shoot a television commercial for the H&M retail clothing chain the week of June 11 in the Trinity Pass/Salem Road area, and some area residents were upset with the disruption it caused.
Allan Wechsler, a Salem Road resident, told the board at Thursday night’s meeting that the shoot created a “mob scene” in front of his house and at times bright lights lit up his living room and dining room. He said he endured the problem for an entire week.
“This went on from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. – 13 and a half hours a day,” Wechsler said. “Why [the permit] was approved for those hours is beyond me. We had heavy traffic up and down the street all day long. It was uninhabitable.”
Wechsler said it appeared there was no site review once the filming began. He said no town officials stopped by to make sure the crew was adhering to the permit’s stipulations.
“The inmates were in charge,” he said.
Wechsler contended that the town issued the permit too hastily and that area residents were not consulted.
“I am asking for two things,” he told the board. “I would like an apology from the board and I want you to address the permit process.”
Town Supervisor Gary Warshauer agreed to both.
“I want to extend an apology on behalf of the Town Board and we are going to amend the process,” he said.
Warshauer said the board is consulting with Police Chief David Ryan and Town Clerk Joanne Pace in an effort to revise the permit process for film shoots.
“We are rethinking the whole process so that neighbors will be consulted and can come to town board meetings and have the opportunity to speak,” he said. “We are going to take [the input] and put it in a draft for review and then schedule a public hearing [on an amended law] in a timely fashion.”