SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Residents on Telegraph Hill are upset that visitors to Coit Tower were turned away Monday, as the landmark was closed to the public for the filming of a commercial using a drone.

According to the nonprofit Protect Coit Tower, Logan Media Films was filming a corporate commercial with the unmanned aerial vehicle. The nonprofit has been working for years to protect public access to the tower and restore its historic murals.

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“Coit Tower is a public space that belongs to all people, and it diminishes this treasure to stop people from even seeing Coit Tower because a company wants to use a drone for its commercial, said Protect Coit Tower’s Jon Golinger in a statement.

The officials said Logan Media’s Patrick Ranahan told them Federal Aviation Administration rules require his company to keep the public at least 200 feet away when a drone is used for filming.

Susannah Greason Robbins, executive director of the San Francisco Film Commission, told KPIX 5, “This is the actual first FAA approved UAS shoot in, as far as I know, Northern California.”

Protect Coit Tower said Logan Media paid the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department $1,500 for a permit to shoot the commercial at the tower.

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“Why is the Recreation and Park Department selling private access to this public treasure and preventing people who have traveled from around the world to visit from even taking a photograph of Coit Tower just because a corporation wants to use a drone for its commercial?” Golinger asked.

A second filming-related closure scheduled for Tuesday was canceled. “My understanding was that it was because of weather, and it was anticipated weather,” Robbins said.

The film commission said the production crew has not rescheduled any additional days for filming.


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