Arlington Passed an Ordinance to Promote a "Festive Image" during the NCAA Final Four

Categories: Sports

specialeventprotectedarea.jpg
Keep your temporary outdoor structure out of this square or risk a $500 fine and a misdemeanor charge.
With thousands of fans expected to flood Arlington in April for the NCAA Final Four, there couldn't be a better time for you to finally open that ticket-scalping business you've always dreamed of, sell your famous canned chili dogs to random people on the sidewalk or try hosting an Occupy Protest tent city in your front yard.

Unfortunately the City of Arlington doesn't agree. Last week the city passed an ordinance that will "promote and protect the festive image in and around the AT&T Stadium Major Sports Complex" from March 25 until April 8.

During that time, the ordinance creates a "Special Event" rectangle in the city that's about 1.5 miles by 3 miles, encompassing not just the AT&T stadium but also residential streets.

Within that zone, there can be no outdoor advertisements, no outdoor vendors that didn't exist before the NCAA finals and no temporary outdoor event, defined loosely as anything with a "temporary outdoor structure." That stuff isn't just banned from public streets, it's also banned from being "visible from any pubic street."

Violators can be charged with a misdemeanor and fined up to $500.

The outdoor advertising displays that are prohibited are "including but not limited to" portable signs, flags, building wraps and cold air balloons. And temporary outdoor structures include canopies and "air-inflated and tensioned membrane structures."

In 2011, Arlington passed something similar for the Super Bowl. The point then was to prevent "ambush marketing," wherein people who aren't event sponsors show up on game day and try to pretend that their brand is associated with the event. Arlington is not the only city to do this. In fact, the NFL demands that all host cities pass some sort of regulations to prevent ambush marketing.

But Arlington defined "ambush marketing" rather loosely during the 2011 Super Bowl. On that day, one man was cited for owning a truck which was "pulling [a] trailer advertising during special event." Another person was cited under the ambush marketing ordinance for "selling cotton candy in the street."

In an interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Deputy City Manager Theron Bowman said this more recent special event zone ordinance is similar to the Super Bowl one, which he portrayed as a good thing.

"The experience from the Super Bowl is that the zone had a minimal effect on residents," Bowman told the paper.

What he didn't mention: In 2011, a man named Eric Williams was also charged with ambush marketing on game day. His offense? Promoting his anti-bullying campaign, including a truck flanked with Best Buy ads, in the parking lot of Best Buy, which had given him permission to set up there. Williams sued, accusing the city of targeting black and Latino people in its ambush marketing citations. That resulted in him getting a $5,000 settlement from the City of Arlington and another $25,000 from the Super Bowl committee.

In the text of Arlington's NCAA ordinance, meanwhile, there's no mention of ambush marketing. Instead, it's all framed as a way to keep the city safe and looking good. "The NCAA has related to the City of Arlington experiences in other cities where failure to regulate temporary structures ... resulted in pedestrian and vehicular traffic issues that caused traffic and pedestrian safety problems."

That's an ominous enough warning that we suggest you move your game day moonbounce inside your living room if you live within the special event zone. If it doesn't fit indoors and you get a ticket for having a temporary outdoor structure that's visible to the public, just play it off to the cops like it's a permanent moounbounce that's always in your driveway.

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22 comments
LovingPerson
LovingPerson

So what piece of politician crap owns what company in this zone that's going to make the most money because he's not allowed to have competitors? Politicians sure an embarrassment. 

fishcreekneighbor
fishcreekneighbor

How about if Arlington passes for its citizens a protective ordinance on frack zones with the same dimensions ~ 1.5 x 3 miles?  Currently, it's a pathetic 600 feet with the option to obtain a variance.  Wouldn't it be nice if we could fine the frackers every time their noxious fumes trespassed across our property lines?  But this City has never been an advocate for people ~ only corporate interests.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

Bounce-Houses are like the very definition of "festive", aren't they? 

kimfeil
kimfeil

So my manniquin, BenZene, cannot be on my porch swing? We live in the festive zone of gaswells....especially the one at the corner of Collins and Division. We often protest about how bad the air quality is when they should have not approved the site in the Entertainment District because of all the existing pollution from the cars, GM (562 tons of voc’s per year), and their Chesapeake gas wells. I blogged about this NCAA ordinance the day they were voting it in here  ...http://barnettshalehell.wordpress.com/2013/12/03/final-4-tailgate-party-in-your-own-backyard-500-fine-in-arlington/

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

The most "festive image" of Arlingfun is the one in the rear view mirror.

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

OKAY so what if it is a CHRIST IS OUR SAVIOR BANNER ?And a small Tent to hand out Bibles  in the front yard ? 




manpanties
manpanties

$500 is a cheap price to pay up-front for the lawsuit you will certainly win on the back side.  some kid is going to have his bounce house birthday pay raided by the festive cops.

ruddski
ruddski

At least we now know how to get around the ordinance and make extra profit to boot.

dingo
dingo

"Pubic" streets make my special events zone festive.

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

This sounds so vague and selectively enforced. I fail to see how this is at all legal.

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

"The experience from the Super Bowl is that the zone had a minimal effect on residents," Bowman told the paper. 

No SHIT ?  Most folks couldn't get out of their houses thanks to the Ice / snow wintery mix storm of the decade ...

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Another hokey, pokey idea from the authorities.  The weeks surrounding the Super Bowl were the only times I remember that the panhandling law was enforced.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

Guess I better take my Jayhawk stickers off my car so I dont get popped for advertising in the entertainment district that weekend

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@fishcreekneighbor c'mon man, Arlington is the city of fun, and what fun would it be without fracking wells.  We like to play, guess which neighborhood the frack line is under

ruddski
ruddski

There is precedent for a race-based exemption, so a freedom-of-religion exemption might fly.

Give it a shot, you stand to make a tidy profit.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@P1Gunter I actually think it a redundant ordinance, considering most of what they are banning isnt legal normally anyhow.  The vendors that this affects dont have proper permits as it is and sell either unauthorized merch or food that isnt regulated.  And the advertisements they seek to ban are illegal as well before the law. I couldnt just go put up a ScottsMerkin Bar banner where ever I want w/o permitting it with the city This just reeks of trying to keep the riff raff completely out of the zone for 5 days.

Cabby
Cabby

keep the wide load stickers on ;)

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

What I am envisioning is some guy's house with a flag getting ticketed. Or he works for Geek Squad and has his logo'd car in the driveway. The way I read it that would be a fine.

Peddling on the streets is redundant, I agree. But there is a very broad scope to this. If best buy wants fly a flag and give out hot dogs in their parking lot, is that illegal? It's very vague.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@Cabby lol, I only use those when prowling country concerts at the stadium, seems the wide loads come out in droves.  Can someone tell them, summer dresses dont look good when your neck is as wide as your shoulders

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@P1Gunter good points.  In fact, if I was Best Buy and paid the high rents they pay to be in that district, they should say fuck you.  There is a reason those businesses pay what they do to be in that area and its specifically to take advantage of events like this and for the City to say, you are not an official sponsor, keep your sign inside is bad.  

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