Edgartown selectmen want more info on reality show plans

— File photo by Ralph Stewart

Updated 5:40 pm, Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Edgartown selectmen Monday declined to act on a general request from a Los Angeles production company to film scenes in Edgartown for a production billed as a docu-soap titled “The Vineyard.”

Selectmen said they would need more information on locations and filming schedules before they grant permission to the film crew to use public areas such as streets, parks, or beaches.

Production is scheduled to begin in less than a month. In a letter dated April 5 and emailed to Edgartown selectmen, 25/7 Productions/Catwalk production manager Brett Blakeney provided few specifics about locations or public resources that might be affected.

Mr. Blakeney said the company’s creative team is just getting underway. “Again, as soon as I know more, I will be happy to reach out individually for permission,” he said.

“They’re going to be coming May 5 through June 29,” town administrator Pam Dolby told selectmen. “It doesn’t give us any locations. The crew size is 15-20 members.”

In the letter, also sent to other Island officials and police departments, Mr. Blakeney offered broad assurances regarding the show’s content and its portrayal of Martha’s Vineyard.

“One of the biggest concerns that we have heard is a comparison to ‘Jersey Shore’ or other ‘trash’ television that conveys partying, irresponsibility, or an undesirable perspective on any place,” Mr. Blakeney wrote. “ABC Family requires strict standards be upheld, and require that our show be extremely family-friendly.”

ABC Family channel announced plans to air the program in February. Promotional material said, “Tight quarters, new friends and new rivals, all living, working and playing together, make this picturesque playground ripe for mischief and romance.”

In other action Monday, town administrator Pam Dolby told selectmen that the Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative (CVEC) has secured financing for two town-sponsored solar power generating projects, and expects to begin construction in June.

“That’s kind of exciting,” Ms. Dolby said. “Hopefully that will help us out with our electric bill next year.”

One of the installations will be on town-owned land at Katama Farm. Another will be off Pennywise Path, near the Morgan Woods housing development. CVEC is managing the bidding, contracts, and construction for Edgartown and more than two dozen other Cape and Island towns with similar projects.

Ms. Dolby told selectmen that one potential buyer has already toured the Warren House on North Water Street, and two others have asked for information, since the town reworked the strict requirements for disposing of the town property, and placed new advertisements. The building was purchased by vote of a special town meeting in 2005 for a library expansion project, but proved unsuitable for that use.

This article was updated to clarify that selectmen did not refuse to grant permission for filming scenes in Edgartown, but declined to act on a general request until they get more specifics.