OS mayor vetoes ordinance on film and television companies - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

OS mayor vetoes ordinance on film and television companies

Downtown Ocean Springs. (Photo source: WLOX News) Downtown Ocean Springs. (Photo source: WLOX News)
OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran has vetoed an ordinance that sparked a lot of controversy among the film community. That ordinance was passed by the board of aldermen. It outlined how the city was planning to handle film and television production companies.

Moran says she intends to work with the board of aldermen to modify the ordinance. In Moran's veto letter to the city clerk and board she states that the ordinance was unanimously passed without any discussion. 

She goes on to say she feels the ordinance is unduly restrictive and would like the opportunity to discuss with film industry professionals, and to compare similar ordinances in other cities.

Mayor's veto letter: 

"It is not the intent of the Board to discourage filming in our community. Rather the City would like to streamline the process to cooperate with producers and ensure any negative impacts to our residents and businesses (road blocks, noise, pyrotechnical effects) are minimized with sufficient public notification. Ocean Springs is a picturesque town that is an attractive and appropriate setting for film production. Limits on the times of production, burdensome permitting, lag in City's response time, and any oversight restriction that could be construed as censorship, send a negative signal to the film industry that would be detrimental to our economic development efforts. I look forward to working with the Board and interested parties to modify the ordinance to “set the stage” for a productive working relationship with this growing industry."

According to city officials, the ordinance is needed because of the increased interest in filming in Mississippi and on the coast. Previously, productions looking to film in the city would simply apply like any other event. The ordinance introduces new steps and restrictions to filming in the city.

Locals in the industry say it's not the right way to go. 

"If I were to come from out of state and down here to film in Ocean Springs and I read this, I'd go somewhere else in a heartbeat. So there are things we need to do to really specify the language in this so that people are not going to misinterpret it. Gossip isn't going to start. People are not going to think that I can't go to the park with my kids with my cell phone. A cop might stop me and ask me what I'm filming and what I plan to do with that film," said the Gulf Coast Independent Film and Television Alliance President Fayr Barkley.

The city is inviting residents to voice their opinions about a film ordinance at the first city meeting in May.

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