Producer Aaron Spelling has had yet another run-in with the Los Angeles city permit office. He has been denied access to a mansion in Benedict Canyon after City Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky sought to slap a moratorium on any filming at the site.
Spelling’s company had wanted to film portions of its series “Burke’s Law” at a palatial estate at 1400 Tower Grove, but had to relocate filming after the permit was taken away.
“We had a permit but it was pulled on Friday morning,” said an executive at Spelling’s company, “and it ended up costing us between $ 3,000 and $ 4,000 to relocate. I think what Councilman Yaroslavsky has done is immoral and indecent.”
Coming to terms
Yaroslavsky said his fight is with the property’s owner, Mark Slotkin, not with filming at the house. In fact, he’s said he will support reinstating filming there if the homeowner will agree to a number of terms.
“This man has built himself a huge mansion and he rents it out for commercial uses, for parties and receptions,” Yaroslavsky told Daily Variety. “What he’s doing is illegal and he’s ended up alienating some of the neighbors. The way I feel is that the city should enforce its rules and it certainly shouldn’t reward someone like this with filming permits.”
Spelling’s company had been set to pay $ 10,000 for a one-day use of the house, reported to be a 25,000-square-foot home with a sweeping staircase and 19 th-century stained glass windows.
Second time around
This is the second time in recent months Spelling’s company has run into such difficulties, after a Hermosa Beach resident’s legal challenge last year stopped filming of “Beverly Hills, 90210” at a beach house in that city.
The dispute over the Tower Grove house apparently has been brewing over the past month but came to a head in recent days when Spelling’s company happened to be the one denied a permit.
The whole matter came before the Public Works Board on Wednesday morning, which listened to both sides of the story and promptly put the matter off for two weeks. Government officials say they believe a resolution can be found that doesn’t require the city to take further action.
“We obviously don’t want to see any restrictions placed on any property related to filming,” said Cody Cluff, the city’s assistant mayor and entertainment liaison. “We’ve been trying to work out an understanding for the past 30 days and it now appears after the hearing that there may be a resolution.”
Patti Archuletta, director of the California Film Commission, said state officials are also anxious to see a resolution in place.
“The state is concerned that once again this rings of the ‘Beverly Hills, 90210′ episode,” she said. “This kind of thing could have a widespread negative impact on filming and it could be the Achilles’ heel of California, especially for all those film commissioners that just left Santa Monica,” site of the recent Location Expo.
Yaroslavsky, meanwhile, said he will support reinstating permits at the house if the homeowner agrees to notify the Board of Public Works any time he has a party with a set number of people attending.
“This would be so the city can monitor them and see if these are his parties or if he’s rented out the house,” he said. “Secondly, if this man is ever cited for violating zoning laws, then film permits for the house would be revoked.
“If he can comply with that, along with keeping vehicles off the street and such, I would recommend that the board go ahead and issue a certain number of permits and see how things go,” Yaroslavsky said. “I’m not against filming, but I don’t want to see this neighborhood sacrificed.”