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As Rap Video Productions Take to South Bunnell, City Enacts Strict Regulations

| January 30, 2019

A still from a music video shot in Bunnell by the rapper known as FatAss, center in the foreground. The production triggered an effort by Bunnell government to regulate video and other movie productions in the city.

A still from a music video shot in Bunnell by the rapper known as FatAss, center in the foreground. The production triggered an effort by Bunnell government to regulate video and other movie productions in the city.

The filming of rap music videos is having such an impact in South Bunnell–at least according to city officials and some residents–that the city administration and the commission felt compelled to draft regulations and pass an ordinance regulating the practice even in some cases when it takes place on private property.


A permit will be required for “the commercial shooting or making of a motion picture, television, music video, videotape, or film production on private property involving the erection of tents or other temporary structures,” the ordinance states, “the congregating together of 50 or more individuals, or the use of pyrotechnics, explosives, or other incendiary devices.”

The wording vague enough that the threshold of “50 or more individuals” congregating is not what triggers the permit requirement, as would be any movie production “utilizing city facilities” such as streets.

The permit, which must be secured at least 15 days before filming, requires applicants to specify the location of the shoot, the duration, insurance coverage of $1 million, additional $1 million coverage if vehicles are used, workers’ compensation coverage “for all employees,” a “written summary or explanation of the portion of the production to be shot within the City of Bunnell,” and payment of fees, including supplemental fees for “extraordinary services provided by the City” such as law enforcement or anything that might entail the use of other city services. The city may require pre-payment for those costs.

The fee schedule was not appended to the ordinance, so commissioners–and potential producers–had no idea what those financial burdens may be in the future. (The use of law enforcement would amount to $35 an hour per officer.)

“All of them that are in business, that’s what they carry, it’s nothing new,” City Manager Alvin Jackson said in an interview, referring to people involved in productions. “Anybody that’s in that business, they understand that.” He did not think the regulations would be burdensome or that they would discourage future productions, saying several of the cities and counties he’s worked in previously have similar ordinances.

The commission approved that ordinance on first reading Monday evening.

Jackson said he recognizes that movie and video production in Bunnell is a form of economic development. But he said there’d been complaints by residents–and, as Mayor Catherine Robinson explained, by herself–about the noise, the number of people gathered and the street closures caused by recent video productions, all of them in predominantly black South Bunnell. The ordinance, Jackson said, is not intended to tamp that down, but to organize such events so as to minimize the impact on the city and avoid complaints, just as would be the case with special events. The city has a special events ordinance.

“It impacts roads, impacts public works, and all of that has to be organized so it can be managed not only for us but for the production,” Jackson said. “Sometimes there’s additional barricades that’s needed to keep the public back from an area.”
The ordinance was prompted by a production last fall by the local rapper Troy Reddin, known by his stage name, FatAss, who performed in a production of a music video about Bunnell (“My City,” the video is titled), in South Bunnell, featuring what appears to be numerous local residents.


FatAss’s “My City: Bunnell”

The production is the work of Bunnell-based Best Vibes Entertainment, run by David Freckleton and owned and by Deborah Freckleton, his mother, who said she was supportive of the city’s approach. (Listen to FatAss’s songs at Soundcloud here.)

“It’s growing, and it’s going to grow,” Freckleton said of video productions, “that’s why we want to work with the authorities so there’s no problem, so this is a way for the young people to try to make a way for themselves.” Freckleton met with the city manager and Police Chief Tom Foster. The ordinance, she said, is a matter of cooperation “so everything goes smoothly.” Further productions are planned, she said, including an Easter event near the Carver Center, featuring music, a DJ, and an Easter egg hunt for young people.

Jackson said he was part of Lake County government when that county was the location for “Rosewood,” a $30 million 1997 movie production directed by John Singleton, about the 1923 massacre of Rosewood’s black residents by a white mob. No such production is expected in Bunnell any time soon, and none of the productions that led to the ordinance have been more than music videos. Still, Jackson says the city should be prepared, and that the ordinance does not affect a few amateurs shooting a video in a backyard

“That’s amateurs, basically they couldn’t use city property and all that stuff like that, they couldn’t use the roads, close down the roads,” Jackson said. “We’re talking about professional productions. When you talk about FatAss, that’s what he’s doing.”

Jackson presented the ordinance for first reading at Monday’s City Commission meeting (where there was neither mention nor showing of FatAss videos). It drew little discussion, but several comments.

“There was a problem a couple of weeks ago,” Daisy Henry, a pastor and resident of Drain Street, and a former commissioner who is running again, told the commission. “They were shooting right by the corner of my house and the corner of Drain and Anderson, they stood there for about 30 minutes, this yellow car and a black car, and the guy in the black car, he was smoking a reefer. He was up through the sunroof. For about 30 minutes I didn’t see no cop anywhere around. But they were filming, and they had the traffic stopped. So I said I’m going to see how long they were going to be there, and they congregated on the other side of Anderson. But that is a problem, because there was a group of young people just standing there, watching that.”

Henry added that they were “out of towners, nobody local.”

“She’s right,” Commissioner John Rogers said, “they come from out of town, they put stress on our resources, our police department, they close our roads down, I’d like to thank the staff for their forward thinking on this ordinance.” But there’s no evidence the musicians and productions are from out of town, as Jackson made clear. Freckleton said she would not be aware of others using Bunnell as their locations, though it’s possible.

Robinson, the mayor, had a noise issue: “Probably the city manager will be happy I won’t call him at 1 o’clock in the morning to let him hear the noises going on in the city,” she said, “because I figure if I’m hearing it he probably should be hearing it. So he didn’t have to take my word for it I went on the porch and turned my phone on so he could listen to it, and it was an offshoot of this very issue.” The ordinance, Robinson said, is “trying to be more proactive to protect our citizens and prevent this type of thing from happening.”

The vote approving the ordinance was unanimous. It will go before the commission again in two weeks for a second and final reading.

See the wording of the ordinance in full below.

Bunnell’s New Permitting Requirements for Video and Movie Productions (2019)

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28 Responses for “As Rap Video Productions Take to South Bunnell, City Enacts Strict Regulations”

  1. Middle school friend says:

    He came up from nothing and is doing great for himself you get it !! People don’t like to see success 😉

  2. Dave says:

    I’ve been hearing loud music threw the city my whole life. Whether it’s from the fair grounds, or the old dog pound saloon. Could it be the type of music that is being discriminated against? Either way it’s nice to see things poppin in south Bunnell! I look foward to bringing my out of town guests threw to see the culture we have right here in our County!

  3. Third Eye says:

    Flaglerlive, I know you guys share news but I wish you would not have shown this. Some people confuse fantasy with reality. This doesn’t even qualify as hip hop or entertainment. Its gutter talk put to a beat, passed off as music. The “projects”/public housing is for residence not glorifying illegal guns and drugs.
    These guys are stuck in the stone ages with this murder music, and trust me I’m a hip hop fan from the late 70’s to now.

  4. The Geode says:

    “out of towners”? WHO is going to leave their prospective cities to come to this “one horse town” to shoot a video? Besides, the police department is feckless and I would dare say afraid when it comes to policing the community. People are driving reckless, standing in the middle of the right of way, riding dirt bikes through the streets while the “police department” acts with the demeanor of the “professional wrestling referee” who ALWAYS seem to have his back turned when he should be doing his JOB!

  5. Concerned Citizen says:

    So you’re considered a hard core thug riding around on an oversized trike and sporting an ignorant name like “Fat Ass”?

    Yep that makes me want to go right out and download that music

  6. Nancy N. says:

    Pretty sure the city just inadvertently outlawed a lot of Youtube video making. SMH

  7. Rick james says:

    Wow, so sad

  8. Artistic Expression says:

    You may not be a huge fan of this genre of music. (I admit I am not) The people in this rap video may not be a fan of yours. But if “FatAss” and his followers were out there making oil paintings would the local government move so fast to shut him down? Like it or not, he is making music; a form of artistic expression. It makes me feel icky what the local government is doing to suppress this. Perhaps they should review the United States Constitution specifically Amendment 1 pertaining to freedom of speech. I live in this community and don’t have a problem with a young black male making music and being proud to hail from Bunnell, Florida.

  9. Richard says:

    I guess the city of Bunnell will now be on the “racists’ blacklist like all of the other locations and people around this country. What a joke! SMH

  10. flagler1 says:

    Entertainment in the 21th century?

  11. Jolene R Dehart says:

    Racism. Flat out and totally ignorant and shameful. Leave people alone that are doing something productive and get out here in the “Redneck” area of the county and catch some of these thieves that are stealing daily from hard working people in order to pay for their drugs and not have to get off their “fatass” and work.

  12. Third Eye says:

    @Artistic Expression, excuse me but most of the starring faces in that “uplifting video” you may think is so creative have recent arrest and drug convictions for poisoning their own community. Showcasing a destructive, victimizing lifestyle as entertainment is no excuse, no they don’t get a pass in 2019. Ask Biggie and Pac what they think about street life now mixed in with music? Oh yeah, you can’t because their dead.

    This type of so-called music and the crowd it brings doesn’t allow just a cool vibing type atmosphere. The video and lyrics speak for themselves, that’s why they did it the projects. I believe the individual responsible for the production of the video has or had a documented video posted on YouTube of he and other individuals filming another video in another county and being searched and detained because of ordinance violations some years ago, so they know what time it is. I wonder if Mr. Freckleton would have a problem filming that video in Flagler Beach where he grew up?

  13. Edith says:

    A permit is a good idea. It protects those involoved in the filming. If you watch the video, you will notice that the actors are flaunting guns and smoking huge blunts. A permit should notify police that this is acting. Imagine if they were shooting a movie that involved an armed robbery and the police were not informed. People could get killed.

  14. live here says:

    This may be “art” but music? I watched twice, I must have missed the guitar, drums and keyboards.Music, not a chance!,

  15. June says:

    The ordinance does represent a good idea just to keep the city organized and everyone aware to not block the flow of traffic.
    They can still make videos and express themselves with their music they just won’t do it in the middle of the street, stopping traffic, or filming police officers or city buildings or sreet signs; Or making noise that annoys the neighbors who don’t want any part of the film or the old ladies that are watching from the porch people smoking “reefers” in the middle of the street.
    Lol now they said the use of police officers would be $35 an hour, that’s funny. Because I doubt they want the police interfering in their musical performance lol

  16. chinky says:

    They bothering us for no reason. we dont messing with nobody, just having fun. #BUNNELLBABY

  17. ASF says:

    Welcome to gangland. If the connections weren’t there, they wouldn’t be there. They see a future in the streets they are filming in.

  18. Willy Boy says:

    Can’t dance to it.

  19. Fat-Ass says:

    3rd eye.

    They were lawful at the time the video was created. Im all for throwing people in jail for breaking the law, but this is musical expression… Like it or not, nobody is breaking a law in place at that time on the date of the filming of this video. You don’t like it? don’t watch it. Biggie and tupac were part of a East coast, west coast rivalry, which thank god de escalated after all involved realized… their own mortality. Don’t be a biggot, young black guy doing well for himself and everyone gets up in a Tizzy.

    Third Eye says:
    January 31, 2019 at 9:08 am
    @Artistic Expression, excuse me but most of the starring faces in that “uplifting video” you may think is so creative have recent arrest and drug convictions for poisoning their own community. Showcasing a destructive, victimizing lifestyle as entertainment is no excuse, no they don’t get a pass in 2019. Ask Biggie and Pac what they think about street life now mixed in with music? Oh yeah, you can’t because their dead.
    This type of so-called music and the crowd it brings doesn’t allow just a cool vibing type atmosphere. The video and lyrics speak for themselves, that’s why they did it the projects. I believe the individual responsible for the production of the video has or had a documented video posted on YouTube of he and other individuals filming another video in another county and being searched and detained because of ordinance violations some years ago, so they know what time it is. I wonder if Mr. Freckleton would have a problem filming that video in Flagler Beach where he grew up?

  20. The Mon says:

    Filming police officers, city buildings and street signs isnt illegal lol, public property is fair game, please research the law you wish to uphold so well.

  21. thisthat says:

    im a 46 year old white dude with “bunnell” tattoo from my knee to my ankle…. i love the video. makes me feel proud to be born in bunnell 46 years ago.

  22. Dave says:

    Having guns is just part of our American culture! Heck even the sheriff does videos with guns and shooting. Drugs are another huge part of our culture. So I dont see why people are making such a big deal about it. As a community we should get behind these young people and show them we support them, show love get love and so on. We are all one community that needs to come together and lift up each other, even if we dont understand, we should try.

  23. palmcoaster says:

    Bikers and their rubber burning Fat Tires, etc. and roaring engines are allowed all around us raising cane…and are even protected by our law enforcement and welcomed without a permit, which I agree. So then let these Bunnell people do their thing also no need for permit? C;mon.

  24. The Geode says:

    IMAGINE how different these comments would be IF this happened in THEIR neighborhood, clogging up THEIR traffic and disturbing THEIR peace. It’s easy to seem “down” when you are removed from the problem. Kinda like when crack decimated tha BLACK HOODS and everybody was like MEH …until opioids and heroin started to decimate the WHITE BURBS – Declared National Crisis!

  25. Dave says:

    So The Geode is comparing Music and Video and artistic expression along with literal love for the city of Bunnell,to crack, opioids and heroin?? Real nice ! I guess some people just cant stop the hate from showing

  26. The Geode says:

    Ah… the misappropriation of a metaphor to call me a “hater”. What did I hate? Before you start with your “I’m trying to keep the Black Man down”, mantra. I would have you know that I AM A BLACK MAN (who can’t be held down). It still doesn’t change my opinion that had this happened in the “horty-torty” areas of Palm Coast, or in the front of YOUR HOUSE – your “love of free expression” would cease being so “loving”. Besides, my “metaphor” was dead on – NOBODY cares about the problem others have until it affects THEM.
    Oh. BTW – I know everyone (or their parents) in the video. I don’t DO “hate”…

  27. Bunnellredneck386 says:

    I’m a bunnell white cracker redneck..leave these color young ones alone already..us tax payers own the damn signs and goverment property..we the damn people!! You work for us and we own the damn property..now enough drowning our town of bunnell out with way to much damn goverment rules, fines, fee’s..I’m a tax payer and I’m telling them we make the don’t rules and go make all the damn music videos you want..whites and black will rise up together and fight you all and win at all cost!!

  28. Bunnellredneck386 says:

    Enough taxes, enough wasteful goverment wasteful spending..put Governments on a tight strict budget already..they need no more taxes and fine money at all..we own all the town, not the Government, they need to allow these kids their freedomsand rights to make music videos all they want.

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