Bird Rock residents get concessions from MTV show in their neighborhood

By Dave Schwab

Staff Writer

Producers of the MTV show “The Real World” being filmed in Bird Rock agreed Friday to concessions demanded by neighbors to compensate them for problems associated with traffic, noise, lighting, security and safety caused by the show.

“At the recommendation of the police department, the producers will be funding one uniformed Police Officer with a patrol car who will be stationed at the roundabout entrance to the neighborhood each night until 4 a.m.,” said First District Councilwoman Sherri Lightner following negotiations between her staff, the show’s producers, the Film Commission and the police. “The officer will begin his first shift tonight at 6 p.m.”

Lightner said she also relayed to the producers neighbors’ specific requests to shield the lights on the roof of the Real World house and to turn those lights off by 10 p.m. each night. She said Bob Vacchi, director of the Neighborhood Code Compliance Department, reported that his department conducted a nighttime inspection of the lights on the Real World house Thursday night.

“The inspector found one light on the southeast corner of the property that needs to be better shielded,” she said. “Mr. Vacchi has spoken with the show’s producers about addressing this issue.”

The Code Compliance Inspector will also be conducting a follow-up daytime inspection of the roof and the interior of the home within the next week, Lightner added,  noting her office will provide an update after that inspection occurs.

About 30 residents turned out earlier this week on Tuesday night at a private community meeting hosted by Lighter  to discuss issues they have with “The Real World” which is filming now until about Labor Day. They insisted their neighborhood be compensated by MTV’s hiring round-the-clocksecurity, and that bright lights on homes rooftop be dimmed  or elminated completely.

Summarizing neighbors’ serious concerns with noise- , traffic- and security-related problems with MTV’s filming at the La Jolla oceanfront residence, Milan Dimich said, “We’ll take whatever steps we feel are necessary to stop the intrusion to the neighborhood.”

Rob Dunson, president and head of production for the San Diego Film Commission and Ed Quinn, a San Diego Film Commission Boardmember and a La Jollan who is a resident of Lower Hermosa, were present to answer questions about the film industry in San Diego and MTV’s current shoot. MTV was invited to send a representative but did not show.

Now in its 28th season, The Real World focuses on the lives of groups of strangers who audition to live together in a house for extended periods while cameras record their often-conflicting interpersonal relationships.

Several neighbors at the July 5 meeting at Bird Rock Coffee Roasters expressed a preference for not seeking a compromise with show producers, but rather wanted to seek a way to shut down filming immediately. They allege show producers are violating city municipal zoning codes in running a business out of a single-family home in a residential neighborhood.

“There’s (vehicular) activity going on on the street day and night and surly characters at all times,” complained neighbor Brandon Wander. “My wife, my 10-year-old daughter and I have concerns about safety issues.”

Wander said the question to be answered shouldn’t be what to do about the MTV show’s filming, but rather “why they’re here in the first place.”

“It appears they’re operating in violation of city municipal codes operating a business in a single-family residence and having employees sleeping overnight at the location, like a mini-dorm, which is not allowed,” he said.

Another neighbor, who requested anonymity after the meeting, noted he no longer allows his children to play outside because he fears for their safety from increased traffic caused by the MTV house.

“I want to know, can we shut this down or not?” the neighbor asked.

“Very doubtful,” replied Councilwoman Lightner adding, “I am disappointed in the process and lack of notification to our community. … I know this single-family residence neighborhood doesn’t seem like a real good place for this type of filming and that there are a lot of small children in the immediate area … but we cannot remove them from the house and, going forward, we need to determine how to increase the transparency and the public participation in this process.”

“What are they contributing back to the neighborhood?” queried neighbor Robert Asaro.

“I understand you’re upset and we’re trying to make this better for all of you,” said Dunson of the film commission adding, “We did not recruit Real World. And even if we did recruit them, we couldn’t stop them from renting a house.”

Lightner urged neighbors not to engage in any confrontations with the cast or crew of the production.  If problems arise, she requests that people call Film Commission representatives Rob Dunson at 619-234-3456  or Kimberly Hale at 619-417-3665.

Lightner can be contacted at 619-236-6611 or e-mailed at

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Posted by Dave Schwab on Jul 6, 2011. Filed under Featured Story. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

12 Comments for “Bird Rock residents get concessions from MTV show in their neighborhood”

  1. npk32

    How many residents showed up to this? Were tiny violins provided or were residents required to bring their own?

  2. James

    How can you hear the cars going by with all the helicopters?

  3. ashley

    Like Justin Timberlake says… "cry me a river" citizens of Bird Rock! The MTV house didn't invite your community to bash their new residents with your brash immature, complaintive behavior. What great examples you are teaching your kids on how to behave as solid mature grown ups! Bring out the torches and start marching!!! Your hatred screams immaturity… you might as well strap on a diaper and throw your temper tantrums in the street and let them catch it on camera. All you're exhibiting is what a hateful community you are and that you have nothing better to do with your time then waste the police's time in calling them every 10 minutes. Do yourselves a favor and raise your children and go to work and live your lives.

  4. Megan

    Isn’t it funny how the same people that brought all the attention to this production before they started filming about a show getting filmed on their neighborhood by calling the police, reporting to news papers, calling the news over to the neighborhood, commenting on blogs, taking pictures and other internet sources are the ones who are NOW complaining about too much attention in their neighborhood… Maybe this will teach these neighbors that if you don’t want the added attention, don’t bring it to your neighborhood by reporting it to every media outlet possible. That is what happens when you make a big deal out of something that isn’t that big of a deal- IT BECAMES A BIG DEAL AND OUTSIDERS WANT TO TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT YOU ARE COMPLAINING ABOUT. It’s a REALITY SHOW- get over it. Its okay they will go away in a few weeks. Stop wasting tax payer money on non nonsensical issues.

  5. Alexa

    I find it extremely interesting that the "neighbors" are concerned for their "safety" when they are the neighborhood bullies that are causing ALL the disturbances within their own alcove. Just the other night I personally witnessed an overly priced tonka toy truck (grey porsche cayenne) stop in the middle of the street to yell from his car at 2 people getting into their vehicle. "Stop filming, I'm calling the police, you're not permitted…" Dude… you've got 2 cars behind you. You're blocking traffic – you're the hazard. Get off your bluetooth and go home and watch the paint dry! I understand your ignorance is scary, but seek light, no harm shall come of this. Put your envy aside and enjoy your ocean view.

  6. NotRealWorld

    First the farmers market, then the helicopters and now the real world. They really need to find a hobby…

  7. RW26SD

    Hahaha! Shut up people of La Jolla. You're all stuck up and they will be gone within 5-7 more weeks. The world definitely does not revolve around you. Don't be salty because they have the best house on the block :)

  8. Travis

    IF theres something to be afraid of it should be this production team against this modern day bigotry. Don't kid yourself- these people are no better then a lynching mob. Only difference is that they're using organic rope and burning fires out of recycled wood.

  9. dave

    Maybe those of us in PB can borrow the Bird Rock gang to come over and roust the Hare Krishnas from some of the residences they're in. Between their chanting, bell ringing, horn blowing and other strange habits, they provide more annoyance than a few young people filming for MTV. And while you're at it Bird Rock gang, whoever had the idea to put the "road circles" on the main thoroughfare through town was nuts. More traffic, loss of business, more noise, etc.

  10. anonymous

    Paying for a police officer is really the least they can do. MTV makes big bucks off of their reality shows.

  11. Bird Rock Native

    Really, I find all this trumped up sympathy for the Real World to be quite amusing.

    The most pathetic part of the whole deal is that there is a market out there for this bilge, the secondary issue is allowing the bilge in Bird Rock. I'd suggest maybe Sheboygan, Okmulgee, or maybe Bugtussle for the next installment.

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