Greenport Board passes permit law for movie and photo shoots

The hit HBO series ‘Girls’ filmed in Greenport Village in 2013. (Credit: Cyndi Murray, file)
The hit HBO series ‘Girls’ filmed in Greenport Village in 2013. (Credit: Cyndi Murray, file)

Want to shoot a movie scene in Greenport Village? You’ll need a permit for that now.

The Village Board unanimously passed a new local law at its meeting Thursday night that requires photo and film shoots to obtain a permit from Village Hall at least 15 days in advance before coming to Greenport.

Each permit will cost $500 and must be approved by the Village Board, according to the law.

The regulation comes in the wake of several movies and television shows — including the hit HBO series “Girls” — filming in or around the Greenport area.

Those making “charitable” or “student” films will still need to get a permit, but are exempted from the fee. Personal photography or filming by news media is completely exempt from the permit requirement, according to the local law.

Applicants must have an insurance policy that names the village as additionally insured. The Village Board also has the ability to “place reasonable limitations” on the hours when filming would be allowed in order to prevent the film crews from disturbing the quality of life of village residents or businesses.

During a short public hearing before the law way adopted, village resident and producer Dena Zemsky said the cost of the permit in Greenport was higher than in other nearby towns, though not enough higher to scare away more wealthy photographers and producers.

But she was concerned about the 15 day requirement to apply for a permit, saying many shoots come together at the last minute.

“If you make it … not competitive [compared] to other communities, people will go other places,” she said. “It’s not realistic for print shoots.”

Greenport Mayor George Hubbard said the Village Board would have the option to tacitly approve a last minute application. After the meeting, he said the board didn’t need a provision in the code in order to waive certain requirements.

The local law will take effect once it is approved by the Secretary of State of New York within 20 days.