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Santa Clarita scripts a future for its movie ranches

November 14, 2011 |  4:18 pm

"NCIS" crew films in Santa Clarita's Summit Park
Santa Clarita is rolling out the red carpet for its storied movie ranches.

The City Council for the suburban community in northern Los Angeles County recently approved a new zoning designation intended to promote filming on local ranches within a 30-mile radius.

The designation establishes standard rules for shooting on the ranches, 10 of which are located in Santa Clarita. It will allow owners to build soundstages and other production-related facilities on their property without obtaining special permission. Additionally, ranch owners won't have to reapply for a special film-use permit every 10 years.

"Filming is important to us in Santa Clarita," Mayor Marsha McLean said in a statement. "We are committed to doing everything we can to support and grow California's signature industry, while making a name for Santa Clarita as the city that not only understands the industry but supports filming at every level, from ordinances and policies to infrastructure and zoning."

The vote is the latest effort by Santa Clarita to grow its movie and TV industry. It already subsidizes film permits and location fees and provides a partial rebate on hotel taxes for productions that do most of their filming in the city.

With close proximity to the Hollywood studios, several soundstages as well as its movie ranches, Santa Clarita has attracted several TV shows in recent years, including the CBS series "NCIS,"  the TBS comedy "Franklin & Bash" and the ABC game show "Wipeout," which is filmed at Sable Ranch. The city's ranches have a long history of hosting westerns, from the vintage TV series "Gunsmoke" to HBO's critically acclaimed "Deadwood."

Walt Disney Co. also is preparing to build a dozen soundstages on the sprawling Golden Oak Ranch off California 14 that hosted such movie classics as "Old Yeller." The ranch is located just outside of the city of Santa Clarita.


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— Richard Verrier

Photo: Crew from the TV drama "NCIS" film in Santa Clarita's Summit Park. Credit: Kelli Lajer / Santa Clarita Film Office.