Cleveland Looking Into $5 Pedestrian Fee At Browns Tailgating Lot

Yesterday, we brought you the story of Cleveland Browns fans being charged a $5 pedestrian fee just for walking into a parking lot used for pre-game tailgating. Unfortunately for the company that owns and operates that lot, one of the pedestrians they hit up for the fee also happens to be a city council member.

After being one of many Browns fans caught off guard by the $5 fee — especially since drivers already pay a $30 fee for parking — the city councilman brought up the topic to the director of the city’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Properties, along with the city’s Law Department.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer says the news instantly raised a red flag with city officials:

The city requires that anytime a private entity charges an admission fee in Cleveland, it must register with the city so it can collect an admission, City Law Director Robert Triozzi said.

‘We will clearly be asking some questions about the nature of the activity taking place,’ Triozzi said. ‘We will investigate exactly what was going on there and take whatever appropriate action is required.’

Meanwhile, the company that owns the lot in question (which, is not officially part of Browns Stadium or the Cleveland Browns organization), defended the fee to the media with a statement:

[W]e wish to address some of the additional expenses and current liability issues related to tailgating cleanup and crowd control, such as off-duty Cleveland Police officers, porta-johns, large dumpsters, clean up equipment and clean up personnel.

By implementing these required additional services and addressing the added costs associated with them will only make for a better environment and allow us to continue serving our valued tailgating patrons throughout the Browns’ remaining football season.

Cleveland to look into operator’s tailgate party $5 admission fees [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

Thanks to Mark for the tip!


Edit Your Comment

  1. cash_da_pibble says:

    The Parking Lot owner has a great defense and makes sense.
    But the issue is that they did not register this admission charge with the city-
    and therefore broke the law.

    • Darury says:

      Actually, it sounds like the Councilman is trying to split hairs here on the registration. If they were already charging admission for cars parking there (the $30 fee), then there shouldn’t be an additional registration for charging for pedestrian visitors.

      Without knowing the complete street layout, my guess would be the only reason for entering the area is for tailgating and not as the only viable route to reach the stadium.

      • dpeters11 says:

        A parking fee is not an admission fee.

        • Blueskylaw says:

          A parking fee is the admissions fee if the event is taking place where you park.

          • bwcbwc says:

            Evidently the parking lot owner disagrees or he wouldn’t be charging the extra $5. Remember, this is for people who hang out at the parking lot but don’t actually park a car there. So they haven’t paid a parking fee as “admission.”

            In other news, parking lot pedestrian fee raised to $6 after owner discovers he has to pay city entertainment taxes on the fees.

        • dangermike says:

          It’s admission to the parking lot.

    • Griking says:

      I agree that the fee is reasonable IMO. Parking lots are designed to be parking lots, not public parks. There’s obviously a lot more expenses involved when it turns into a public gathering area. Public safety and liability is a huge risk IMO since there’s often many people drinking alcohol in these lots.

    • the Persistent Sound of Sensationalism says:

      You actually buy the implication that $30 per vehicle doesn’t cover his costs? If he doesn’t charge another $5, selling parking spots isn’t worth his while?

  2. Miss Dev (The Beer Sherpa) says:

    It’s the stadium’s right to charge for entry to ANY of it’s areas, no matter the mode of transportation to get there.

    But it still sucks.

    • sagodjur says:

      Read the article again (or for the first time):

      “…the lot in question…is not officially part of Browns Stadium or the Cleveland Browns organization.”

    • cash_da_pibble says:

      yes, the stadium can charge for entry.
      But this parking lot is a private lot off of the Stadium Grounds, and is not connected to the Stadium in any way.

    • Difdi says:

      The stadium has a license to charge admission. The parking lot owned by someone else apparently does not.

  3. swarrior216 says:
  4. humphrmi says:

    I love it when a business flaunts the law, not thinking that a, say, city council member might wander by.

    Oh, no, not that part. I love it when they get nailed.

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      In this case, the law isn’t “don’t be an asshat.” Instead it’s merely a technicality. (And, probably, basically a registration with the city so the city can get it’s cut just for, you know, being a city.)

      Pretty much everyone is in violation of at least one of these types of laws at any given time.

    • dangermike says:

      I have a feeling that in this instance, it’s probably more a case of the local government saying, “Hey, waitaminutenow, we deserve a piece of the action, too.”

      I mean, come one. It’s a private lot. If the owners want to charge people to loiter, they should be well within their rights to do so.

  5. Runner says:

    So the $30 per vehicle fee covers what then? Only parking? They then have to charge everyone else $5 to enter the area?

    If they try to use that as a defense, then I sure hope they have the costs to justify charging $5.

    • Kid Notorious says:

      ^^^ This. Otherwise its just usurious.

    • Jezz1226 says:

      The clean up and security mentioned above would prob. do it. Its not charging people just to walk through a parking lot, its charging people to tailgate in the parking lot.

    • Tim in Wyoming says:

      Most cities / counties in Ohio tack on a tax to any venue charging admission. So the parking lot can be in a lot of trouble for violating this.

      This parking lot is not really seeing any additional clean-up / security costs because… it is a tail-gate lot… People are moving from there cars to another section of the lot. People already bring in their food and make messes all over the place. Many of my friends use this lot. The lot is just finding away to scam people.

    • trentblase says:

      How about opportunity cost? Why should a business allow people to use their private parking lot for free? If I was forced to allow free access to my parking lot, I’d build something else on the lot. Then where would you tailgate?

  6. johnny_ryall says:

    sounds like it’ll either be squared away and legit once the city of Cleveland gets its cut of the fee, or parking is about to get more expensive

  7. esomedina says:

    The City of Cleveland is just upset they are not getting a piece of the action.

  8. TBGBoodler says:

    I’m surprised Dan Snyder hasn’t thought of this for Redskin games.

  9. danmac says:

    Unfortunately for the company that owns and operates that lot, one of the pedestrians they hit up for the fee also happens to be a city council member.

    Yes, he’s not one of your run-of-the-mill assholes who expect to utilize the lot and its facilities free of charge; he’s an asshole with power. Big mistake, parking lot!

    Seriously, though, this just looks like something that needs to go through the registration process, at which point it will no longer be a problem – unless, that is, a certain grudge-owning city councilman decides to utilize his office as a bully pulpit against this sort of thing.

    Which, in my experience, is entirely possible.

  10. brownsfan says:

    unfortunately, I have season tickets, and I have tailgated in this lot. We always put our cans in a bag and the bums would walk through and grab the bags to turn in for scrap. This walking fee is BS.

  11. Hoss says:

    So the city has a regulation to ensure crowd control and safe gatherings. And a city council member wants to use the regulation to eliminate the fee and city council overview. Nice work Cleveland!

  12. bitplayer says:

    Can someone explain to me the appeal of tailgating in the first place. You go to a game to be outside the game?

    • danmac says:

      It usually happens before the game, and it involves cheap food and alcohol, as well as a convivial atmosphere (if you’re a sports fan). Then you go into the game with a pre-buzz and it only takes 1 or 2 $8 beers to forget how shitty the Browns are.

      • Dallas_shopper says:

        Or you could do as I do…watch the game from home and see the Cowboys (or the Browns or anyone else) suck for free.

        Plus I can pause the game to go pee. And get beer or soda from the fridge.

        I don’t know why anyone goes to live football games. Seems like a huge pain in the ass.

    • Megalomania says:

      ….you don’t stand outside during the game, you do it before the game. You might as well ask what the appeal of a picnic, a barbeque, or any other social event is. Tailgating just happens to be one that happens before a football game because you’re there (most likely with friends) anyway…

      • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

        …and getting stomach lining and liquored up so as to minimize your trips to the overpriced concession stands during the game (and considering the Browns’ play of late, I’m guessing you need lots of liquor in you in order to sit through it.) I’m guessing the Browns are getting a little kickback from the $5 “surcharge” on pedestrian tailgate traffic, which no doubt the city of Cleveland would like to get a piece of as well.

    • veritybrown says:

      I suspect that tailgating originated from the fact that, in order to get a decent parking space at an event, you need to arrive well in advance of the event. So what are you supposed to do during the time between when you get your parking spot and when the event actually begins? Twiddle your thumbs?

  13. giantspbpk says:

    Well, the good news is that they continue to piss off fans, they won’t need many porta-johns anymore. People will just go wherever they want. Then the lot has some real justification to raise their fees for the cleanup!

  14. sendbillmoney says:

    As long as applicable laws and regulations are followed, I have no problem with a landowner charging admission. What sort of entitlement complex causes one to think they should be allowed free access to another’s private property?

  15. JustLurking says:

    Why don’t people just go old-school drive-in style and jam about 10 people in the car, including a few in the trunk if you have to?

    That should take care of any “pedestrian” fee problems and no need to get the city council involved.

  16. LordTwinkie says:

    If they think the government will stand by and not doing anything about this they live in lala land, the government wants a piece of that delicious pie you gotta pay up! or accidents might happen

  17. JayPhat says:

    I guess I don’t understand. Was this parking lot the only way to access the stadium? If so, I think that’s absurd to hold people hostage like that.

  18. gman863 says:

    Consider the following:

    Billy Bob pays $20 for a parking space – ONE parking space for his vehicle. Billy Bob sets up his creamatorium-sized BBQ unit, coolers and lawn chairs; now he’s taking up at least TWO spaces. Add an extra dozen or so walk-ins to the party, and we’re now up to an amount of real estate that would otherwise hold a minimum of three paying cars.

    BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! The parking lot owner sells a number of parking passes equal to the number of lot spaces. Billy Bob and other tailgate trash (in addition to parking in the spot they actually paid for) have turned about 25% of the lot into a party zone filled with drunks and unavailable for parking. People who prepaid for a space weeks ago can’t park. Finally, the Home Team loses and dozens of blitzed tailgaters (who never left the parking lot) start acts of fighting and vandalism.

    This actually happened two weeks ago in Houston.

    The Texans’ offer season ticket holders the option of a guaranteed parking spot (at a hefty extra cost) for home games in specific lots at Reliant Stadium. Before the Texans/Cowboys game, hundreds of guaranteed parking pass holders had to be diverted to areas up to a mile away due to thousands of non-ticket holding “guests” attending hundreds of tailgate parties. By the time Houston lost and everyone went home, police had made dozens of arrests for fights, public indenency and vandalism.

    To fix this, the Texans now sell tailgate tickes (allows one person in the parking lot if they don’t have a game ticket). 4000 tickets per home game at $20 each, available to season ticket holders only.

    Cops and security guards are checking everyone (in a vehicle or on foot) before they’re allowed into the stadium parking lot: No ticket, no entry, no exceptions.

  19. tcp100 says:

    “Can someone explain to me the appeal of tailgating in the first place. You go to a game to be outside the game?”

    I’m sorry to hear about your funectomy. I hope your recovery is quick.