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Parking, a Tow-Truck, and the EIDC

By Eric Richardson
Published: Monday, February 14, 2005, at 05:53PM

I heard this morning that they were towing cars parked in the lot next to my building. This is a pay lot, but one that's only staffed 8am - 6pm. Outside of those times it's left unlocked, and is often used by residents as evening and occassional overnight parking -- just make sure to have your car out by 7:45am, or you'll have to pay.

But today they were towing at 7:30am, a move that's not going to engender any good will in the residential community. It was only this afternoon that it dawned on me: why did they care today and not other days? Of course, today the lot was rented out to a film company.

I mentioned just the other day that the film companies have their way with the streets of Downtown. Location filming is an enormous revenue machine here. That's why it's no problem for a parking lot operator to inconvenience all who normally park there and give a production company its exclusive use: there's good money coming back his way.

I'm not trying to say that I don't think that kind of capitalism is unfair; the lots are privately owned and that land can be used as the owner desires.

But...

It's pretty ridiculous to start towing cars without any sort of notification that the status quo was not going to be in effect.

In the city of Los Angeles filming permits go through an agency called the Entertainment Industry Development Corporation. The EIDC is sort of a consolidated one-stop shop for filming permits, and they're also supposed to be a coordinated location for filming notifications. Any time you're shooting near where people live or do business, you're legally required to notifiy them:

When filming in the City of Los Angeles, notification of residents and/or merchants/businesses within 500' of the filming location and within 200' of associated activities, such as; parking, base camp, cast/crew parking, etc., is required.

(from the EIDC site)

And yet these notifications are often sporadic. Clearly there's a film shoot being set up in one of the buildings across the alley from me, or perhaps in the alley itself. Parking and base camp are well within the 200' limit of my building, in fact they're directly touching it. And yet my building has no notification posted.

Who's to blame? The EIDC? The building owner? The parking lot owner? Who knows... All I know is that this is the type of stuff that tends to get residents upset. People don't mind being inconvenienced if you alert them ahead of time and keep them informed about what is going on, but springing this type of thing on them unannounced tends to rub them the wrong way.

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