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Some tailgaters who party in Cleveland’s Municipal Parking Lot before Browns home games accuse the city of buzzkill for opening the lot three hours later this football season.

Tailgater Chuck Dean of North Royalton considers the delayed opening, from 4 a.m. to 7 a.m., even more onerous than the city’s 33 percent boost in the game-day parking fee — from $15 to $20.

“The wait to get in could get astronomical,” Dean said Friday.

As many as 1,400 vehicles and 7,000 tailgaters gather in the lot, located south of Burke Lakefront Airport, before Browns’ home games. The tailgaters first learned of the changes last Saturday, when the city circulated flyers before an exhibition game.

Dean and fellow tailgater Larry Oliver have since created an online petition and collected 3,200 responses by Friday afternoon. They hope the response will persuade city officials to restore the old hours.

Darnell Brown, the city’s chief operating officer, said the new hours are intended to reduce the time that police officers are diverted from other duties to patrol the lot and to reduce the amount of trash that city crews must collect.

“One of the things we’re concerned about is the impact on city operations,” Brown said. “Every year we’re trying to mitigate costs and become more efficient.”

Brown said officials also hope that cutting tailgating hours will curb the kind of behavior that makes the lot unfriendly to people with children. He noted that some tailgaters relieve themselves in public instead of using the portable toilets provided by the city.

“Tailgating is obviously part of the NFL experience,” he said, “but there has to be some social etiquette.”

The municipal lot’s new hours are in line with other NFL cities and are similar to other nearby plots, Brown said. Despite the price hike, spaces at the will still be $5 cheaper than competing lots, he said.

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Article courtesy cleveland.com

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