Cobb County lets Braves ban vendors around new stadium, doesn’t cite “safety” this time

Another day, another article about how much Cobb County has bent over backwards to ensure that the Atlanta Braves owners can extract every last dollar from their new stadium, even at the expense of other local business operators:

The ordinance, passed in February, requires vendors who wish to operate in unincorporated areas of the county to obtain a license in order to sell or distribute retail or food items from a cart or kiosk. But a provision in the ordinance gives those in charge of “mixed-use development districts” the power to construct a plan that sets where vending activity can take place, and, according to Dana Johnson, Cobb’s community development director, those who manage such a district could decide not to designate any areas for vending as part of the plan, which has to be approved by the Cobb Board of Commissioners.

Johnson said just one area in the county qualifies under that provision — SunTrust Park, the Braves’ future home stadium, and The Battery Atlanta, a mixed-use development being built next to it.

In other words, the Braves ownership has veto power over anyone else selling anything in the entire development around their new stadium, meaning if you want to buy a bag of peanuts or a bottle of water, you’ll have to do so at Braves-approved prices.

Cobb County is currently reviewing this ordinance, along with the one against anyone other than the Braves renting out parking spaces — like that one, violators of the vending ordinance would be subject to both fines and jail time — because they and the Braves know it looks terrible, plus Cobb County Commission chair Tim Lee is in a tough re-election battle with a runoff vote coming up in two weeks. (Actually early voting has already begun.) If Lee gets re-elected, want to bet that the commission decides that the ordinances are just fine as is?

13 comments on “Cobb County lets Braves ban vendors around new stadium, doesn’t cite “safety” this time

  1. The rest of the commissioners were reelected so I would assume Tim Lee’s election will not have much of an impact on future backroom deals with the Braves.

  2. It’s not uncommon for property managers to decide what activities go on at the property where they manage. As for The Battery Atlanta being the only location this provision would affect, well that just means this is the first mixed-use development district in the county. Here’s to hoping for more mixed-use development to help combat sprawl.

    • The fact that the buildings themselves are mixed use has little to do with whether or not they are sprawl. In fact, there are many “mixed use” destination malls in many cities that give the facade of being able to walk around and, for a handful of people, live there. But there is nothing walkable about these areas outside of the main shopping center itself which is often isolated from any competing businesses, there is often a lack of transit connections, and in many cases the attempt to make the mall have the appearance of walkability just means you have a very large parking lot hidden somewhere that further expands the sprawl.

  3. I actually don’t care about this sort of thing as long as it is confined to the property owners property and the immediate public frontages. Shouldn’t extend one inch onto anyone else’s property or say a nearby park or whatever though.

  4. This ordinance shows that the parking ordinance was no mistake, and that Tim Lee intended to give the Braves at least 2 monopolies. Voting Tim Lee out of office is the only way to get this runaway commission under control.

  5. In all fairness, the team is spending quite a bit more money on the development. I don’t see what is wrong with their desire to control what vendors can and can not sell. That’s part of business, right? I’m sure new businesses won’t want to come near the stadium if other vendors are selling something right on their doorstep. If I’m not mistaken, I’m sure your local mall regulates vendors in the same manner. Every business has to protect their investment in some way.

    • On *enormous* difference is that in a mall, stores often have competitors right there under the same roof to keep them honest, price-wise. There is no such competition whatsoever in this case, which means the Braves have a monopoly and can charge whatever they want, without regard to market forces or any of that sort of thing.

      • So that wasn’t happening at Turner Field……?

        I don’t remember much “competition” at the old stadium…people paid a pretty penny for food and drinks…and yet now people are choosing to believe it’s a problem? To me, that’s no fault of Lee’s.

        • I remember a ton of vendors out in the Turner Field parking lot last time I was at a Braves game. Pretty sure I bought a bag of peanuts or a bottle of water or something to bring in.

  6. I read that Liberty Media owns the Braves somehow and that Liberty Media owns the mixed-use development that will be near SatanTrust Park…so…I’m not understanding how this is in no way raising not one an eyebrow…but maybe it’s me. *shurgs*

  7. I was referring to the MONopolY that the Braves will have. And frankly, if your team isn’t all that and a bag of hot challupas, then WHY or WHY would a new ILLegaly brokered stadium be the mystic solution to that problem? I don’t get it, but again, maybe I’m being schmucktacular…enh.

  8. Tim Lee is getting crushed in the runoff election as we speak.