The Indianapolis-Marion County City-County Council is now considering changes to our ordinances to accommodate the wishes of the NFL concerning Superbowl 2012. These are contained in a rather lengthy Prop 188. An entirely new section of law is being included (Chapter 986 - begins on page 7 of the pdf) that should receive much public scrutiny.
Prop 188 goes before the Rules committee this Tuesday, July 5, in room 260 of the City-County Building. The meeting begins at 5:30 pm, and Prop 157, which proposes restrictions on towing companies, is also on the agenda.
Of particular interest to all should be the definition of a 'Clean Zone' -
Clean zone means a geographically defined area within a special event zone during a civic sponsored special event that no temporary advertising, signage, or structures shall be erected or transient merchant, vendor, or otherwise licensed activity may take place without the person or entity performing such activity first having received approval from the event sponsor and a limited duration license from the bureau of license and permit services.So, a bar that has the fortune to be near Lucas Oil Stadium may not post a 'Welcome Football Fans' banner without having the specific okay of the NFL - for instance.
Also note that a special event that attracts more than 2,500 people will have to pay a special event fee of $268, if it will not require fire department personnel or equipment - and a whopping $368 if it does require fire department personnel or equipment. Now, how is that for paying for the services you use?
From reading the ordinance, it would appear the "license administrator" (apparently someone in Code Enforcement) would be given a blank check to create "clean zones" in Indianapolis. The agreement to host the Super Bowl though "only" required a mile radius clean zone. Apparently that wasn't good enough of a giveaway for the Indy's bureaucrats. They want unlimited power to make as big of a "clean zone" as they choose. They could conceivably make the entire county a clean zone.
I only learned of this proposed ordinance last night, so I am still pouring through it. With the hearing coming so soon and on top of a holiday weekend, to boot, it seems important that as many public eyes get a good look at this proposal as soon as possible. This is our City. Let's make sure that, for once, the Tzars of the sports world do not have sole dominion over our laws and do not wreck havoc upon our finances.
Sign that could be illegal in the "clean zone."
Nearly two years ago I wrote warning about the "clean zone" that would be established in conjunction with the Super Bowl. I repost that column below:
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Indianapolis Downtown Businesses: Beware the Super Bowl "Clean Zone" Ordinance
Last Saturday, the Indianapolis Business Journal, published an article entitled "Bowl Donors Still in Game." In the article, it talked about how corporate sponsors of the 2012 Indianapolis Super Bowl are still holding steady on their promised contributions despite the economic recession.
What I found most interesting, however, was a small paragraph in the Corey Schouten article:
During the event, the [Super Bowl Host Committee] must maintain a one-mile-wide “clean zone” around Lucas Oil Stadium to prevent any non-NFL-sanctioned marketing activities. And it might temporarily relocate the U.S. Post Office facility across from the stadium.Last time I checked, a mile was 5,280 feet. The mile radius of Lucas Oil Stadium will include almost every business in the downtown area.
When Detroit hosted the Super Bowl in 2006, their "clean zone" was 300 feet. The special event ordinance ran for five weeks from January 2, 2006 through February 10, 2006. It appears from my research that Indianapolis' "clean zone" will be one of the biggest, if not the biggest, for a sporting event.
Although these "clean zone" ordinances are sold as a way of preventing the sale of counterfeit NFL merchandise, that argument is bogus. Federal and state law already provides for harsh civil and even criminal penalties for the sale of counterfeit merchandise, including that licensed by the NFL. Rather the "clean zone" restrictions are about the NFL making more money. Let's say you own a restaurant, six blocks from Lucas Oil Stadium and you want to put up a banner inside your establishment welcoming out-of-towners during the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. That would be illegal under most "clean ordinances. Instead you have to buy your banner from the NFL or be subject to a several thousand dollar fine.
But the restrictions go beyond even that. Temporary and outdoor signage, that is not of sponsors of the game, is banned by most "clean zones" ordinances. For example, the pizza store down the street where I work sometimes puts a sandwich board sign outside advertising specials. He won't be able to do that before Super Bowl 2012.
Depending how the ordinance is written, the Super Bowl Host Committee can also use the "clean zone" ordinances to force downtown businesses to cough up money if they want to do business during weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. In 2008, San Antonio adopted a "clean zone" ordinance that required businesses to pay $750 for a license in order to do business within the "clean zone" during the 2008 NCAA final four.
Do we know what kind of "Clean Zone" ordinance is required as part of the deal for the 2012 Super Bowl? Nope. The fact is the Super Bowl Host Committee, which disingenuously attempts to operate as a private entity, keeps those kind of details under wraps. What we do know, however, that the "Clean Zone" will be a mile perimeter around Lucas Oil Stadium and affect virtually every business in the immediate downtown area. (Note: apparently not.) Because of the impact it will have on virtually every downtown business, it is time that we start demanding that the Host Committee provide specific details about the "Clean Zone."