Filming in La Cañada

Film production crews arrive and begin unloading trees as other crews arrive with portable power at 4159 Commonwealth Ave., in La Cañada Flintridge on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013. Some neighbors do not like the frequency of filming at this home. (Raul Roa / Staff Photographer / September 18, 2013)

Some La Cañada Flintridge residents are calling for a halt on film shoots in the city after several large productions have burdened one residential neighborhood.

The issue stems from one estate on Commonwealth Avenue, south of Berkshire Avenue, where Warner Bros. is shooting a feature film this week. It's the fourth time in 13 months that a film permit has been issued for the property.

The city's film ordinance allows for four film shoots in a 12-month period at one location, but residents who have formed the group La Cañada Neighbors for Fair Filming say the film shoots have been excessive on that stretch of the street.

They also claim the production did not follow requirements for notifying neighbors and that the film ordinance needs to be revised.

“We're not against bringing money to the city,” said Mary Beth Rehman-Dittu, who lives on Commonwealth. “We just want it to be more pro-neighbor rather than pro-studios.”

Rehman-Dittu said she and others in the neighborhood group plan to ask City Council members for a moratorium on filming for several months until the film ordinance is vetted.

City Manager Mark Alexander said the ordinance is expected to come before the City Council for discussion in December.

Alexander said the neighbors were notified of the filming, but some were concerned at the amount of filming taking place at one particular residence.

Last week, Warner Bros. agreed to shoot for 12 hours a day, rather than 18, for the production on Commonwealth Avenue. They are also expected to shuttle crew members from another location to alleviate parking problems in the neighborhood and agreed to limit the time that the street would be closed to through traffic from Berkshire to Flintridge Avenue.

During Monday's City Council meeting, Michael Walbrecht, a La Cañada resident and vice president of public affairs for Warner Bros., suggested that the city develop guidelines for frequently filmed areas or even create a special film district.

“It doesn't do us any good at all to burn out from a neighborhood,” he told the council.

Lawyer William Stoner, who is representing Commonwealth residents, also spoke during the council meeting. He said neighbors surrounding the property are “at their wits' end.”

While neighbors have complained about the frequency of local filming, the city sees far fewer film shoots than other area cities. La Cañada approved 50 permits in 2012, earning around $21,646. So far this year, the number of permits issued has slightly increased. From January to present, 55 permits were issued, garnering $37,487 for the city.

But that number is a fraction of the approximately 480 permits a year issued in Pasadena.

Last year, location scouts told the Valley Sun that they avoid the city because the film ordinance, which was last updated in 1995, is too restrictive.

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Follow Tiffany Kelly on Google+ and on Twitter: @LATiffanyKelly.

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