City responds to Old Town Newhall concerns over filming, parking

The CBS show S.W.A.T. films on 6th Street between Main Street and Newhall Avenue Friday afternoon. Cory Rubin/The Signal
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The city of Santa Clarita is considering a filming moratorium in Old Town Newhall on Fridays and Saturdays after businesses in the area raised concerns over parking due to filming activity on those days. 

Filming on Fridays has been a rarity until recently, at least three businesses on Main Street observed. 

On Friday, film crews of the CBS show “SWAT” worked on 6th Street, between Main Street and Newhall Avenue, which required an approximate 50-foot road closure, and occupied parking spaces with both signage and no signage of film activity in the area, they said. 

“When you have large-scale operations in Newhall, people already know there’s not a lot of parking. When they see production, they don’t even stop and try to find parking,” said Daniel Zebrowski, Newhall Press Room co-owner. “I told the city and other folks that we rely on Fridays and Saturdays to carry us for the rest of the week. This can affect my business from 50% to 70%.” 

The CBS show S.W.A.T. films on 6th Street between Main Street and Newhall Avenue Friday afternoon. Cory Rubin/The Signal

Zebrowski and others, including Shannon Garcia of Newhall Refinery and TimBen Boydston with the Canyon Theatre Guild, said they support filming and welcome productions any other day of the week except on Fridays and Saturdays — the days they receive the most foot traffic. 

“Friday nights and weekends have always been the bread and butter — not only for theater but also for the rest of the businesses here,” said Boydston. “It’s particularly difficult for us because the majority of season ticket holders are seniors and it’s not easy for them to walk from the parking structure to the theater. If we don’t sell our tickets, we go out of business.”

The city’s Film Office, which issues film permits within city limits, said it did receive concerns from “a couple of businesses” over parking, and those who opposed recent filming on Fridays expressed that on a hand-delivered signature survey that asks local businesses whether they support the proposed activity, according to Evan Thomason, economic development associate with the city. 

“Our goal is to not have so many take place on Fridays and Saturdays, and if there is filming activity, we look to limit it to where there is little to no impact to the area,” Thomason said, adding that the city strategically limits where production can park to avoid impacting local businesses and customers. 

“The other thing that we are going to do in response to businesses’ concerns is that we are looking to have a town hall-style meeting with members of production and merchants to talk about their concerns and (find a solution). We are looking at doing a moratorium on Fridays and Saturdays in Old Town Newhall — that’s definitely a consideration,” he added. 

A date for the meeting between businesses and production teams has not yet been scheduled, said Thomason.

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