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Seaside Heights Considering Formal Film Regulation Ordinance

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The cast of "Jersey Shore," filmed in Seaside Heights 2009-2012. (File Photo)
The cast of “Jersey Shore,” filmed in Seaside Heights 2009-2012. (File Photo)

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.

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“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.

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  • Mac

    Perhaps better vetting of the boardwalk bully crowd would be a more prudent approach to the boro’s image.

  • Barry Dugac

    Borough Administrator Christopher Vas is doing the right thing by stopping the filming of
    MTV reality shows. Lets keep Seaside Heights family friendly!

    • Mac

      Seaside Heights hasn’t been family-friendly since the 60’s. If you want family-friendly, go to Ocean City.

  • Barry Dugac

    To many people have talked about Seaside Heights not being family friendly. What are
    these people doing to make Seaside Heights more family friendly. I support the mayor and Administrator of Seaside Heights in making this town a family friendly town. The
    MTV reality show filming will only create more hardship for the town in the long run.
    It is the family that spends the money here in Seaside Heights. Buy telling people go to Ocean City is taking tourist from Seaside Heights.

    • Mac

      Your position is honorable, for sure. However, MTV shows don’t create non-family friendly Jersey Shore towns by themselves. Snooki and Company could have been successfully filmed in many shore towns, like Belmar, Point Pleasant Beach, Sea Bright and Sea Isle City to name a few. Much of the negative publicity over the show came from Seaside itself. I’d like to suggest you take a stroll with your wife on both the Seaside Heights/Park boardwalk and the Ocean City boardwalk to see where the average family with young children would prefer to safely and comfortably play and vacation more.

      • Goodgrief

        Seaside Park has always leaned more towards families than the Heights.

        • Mac

          While I tend to agree with you on this point to a degree, I doubt 99.9% of the people on the boardwalk would know the difference. I know that as long as 50 years ago, Jersey Shore teenagers and those in their 20’s who had their own beach towns to play in would come to Seaside in search of fun that they couldn’t and/or wouldn’t do in their own towns. We always believed that’s the reason they built the Parkway past Asbury Park in the first place.

          • Goodgrief

            The reason I say that is because I remember as a teen leaning towards the Heights over the Park on boardwalk nights.

  • Barry Dugac

    Mac I been on the Wildwood Boardwalk, Ocean City Boardwalk, Altantic City Boardwalk,
    Keanburg Boardwalk, Point Pleasant Beach Boardwalk and Seaside Heights Boardwalk. Each boardwalk has a different style of gearing to the family. We must look at the facts and protect are boardwalks accordingly. Bad events on the boardwalk create problems
    and lost of business. .

    • Mac

      Fair enough. Personally, I’d love to see both Asbury Park and Seaside Heights return to the peaks of excitement they provided us with decades ago. I just don’t believe the leadership of Seaside Heights has the ability, insight, experience and established lifetime values to promote honorable family values within the community. I mean, it isn’t that Ocean City leadership is any less corrupt or exploited.
      While I agree Snooki’s MTV show wasn’t the best image of Seaside Heights, large boardwalk fights, two or three parking tickets a day, cops walking the boardwalk as street gangs beating up handcuffed arrested detainees, and boardwalk fires to promote and exploit the Christie reelection effort don’t help either. That comes from decades of poor local leadership period. The only place that comes close to Seaside for bad boardwalk publicity is Wildwood, but that didn’t start until the motels were taken down in favor of condos that brought in cheap winter rentals that chased the Canadians out of South Jersey, with the only exception being the seasonal trailer parks that can control their residencies and still cater mostly to the closed Canadian circles. I think the current idea for a TV show floating around has promise that government should keep the controlling, and usually substandard, paws off of period.