It is not expected that a new reality show is coming to Seaside Heights, sources told Shorebeat this week, but the borough council in the coming months will consider a formal filming ordinance.
Borough Administrator Christopher Vaz said in the past, the borough used its special events permit form to allow filming within the town, a practice that the current administration does not consider sufficient.
Two weeks ago, Bamboo Bar announced it was holding auditions for a reality show set in the borough, sparking major blowback from residents and spurring comments from officials. The majority were against the potential show, citing poor publicity the borough received from MTV’s hit series “Jersey Shore,” which ran from 2009 through 2012 and depicted hard-partying, nightclub antics and occasional arrests.
“When, whatever that was, happened, I was in Montreal at a travel show promoting the borough,” said Vaz. “The first thing I did was call our attorney to see if we had a film ordinance.”
It turns out, there was no formal film ordinance on the books.
“We want to be prepared, in a big way, if something does happen at some point,” said Vaz. “We’ll have a process that’s better than a special event application.”
Several local communities passed filming ordinance in the wake of “Jersey Shore” amidst rumors producers were eyeing neighboring towns for spin-offs. In 2012, Toms River passed a law after the spin-off “Snooki and J-Woww” was proposed for Jennifer “J-Woww” Farley’s home in the township. Toms River denied the request under the ordinance and show was ultimately filmed in Manchester.
Vaz said the borough was approached by producers for two reality shows proposed to filmed in town, but declined to allow either.
Seaside Heights Mayor Anthony Vaz, since taking office in 2015, has keenly focused on rebranding the borough into a family seashore resort, seeking to attract more restaurants, family-friendly boardwalk businesses and fun events and concerts during the summer. The borough is also trying to lure investors to redevelop the Boulevard business district, which contains two buildings – one a former nightclub and one a barely-built, would-be nightclub complex – that are largely abandoned and for sale.