Indoor pickleball could soon be arriving in Westville Village, New Haven, Connecticut, as local attorney Ben Trachten, the owner of a Valley Street parking lot, has submitted a planning application for a two-story pickleball facility featuring a gym and spa.
Site Plan Review
Those plans were discussed at the regular monthly meeting of the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA), held online recently.
According to Thomas Breen of the New Haven Independent, the zoning relief applicant is Pickleville CT LLC, a holding company controlled by Harrison Blume.
Trachten explained that even if the BZA grants the requested zoning relief, the City Plan Commission must still carry out a comprehensive site plan review of the proposed project before construction can start.
A Fast-Growing Sport
The application seeks to “bring pickleball to Westville Village at an existing surface parking lot,” Trachten said on Tuesday night.
The site will require “a tremendous amount of site work to make it work,” particularly the installation of “retaining walls and other structures to keep the pickleball facility safe.”
“Pickleball is a fast-growing sport,” Trachten added. “And the outdoor courts in Edgewood Park are “routinely unavailable because there’s strong competition to utilize them.”
The outdoor courts will also be difficult to use in the cold-weather months.
“For Decades To Come”
Trachten continued by saying, “It’s basically just a big, open, two-floor warehouse building that can be erected very quickly to jump on the trend of pickleball for decades to come.
“If that should fail, it can be adaptively reused in the future.”
“Pickleball Health And Wellness”
BZA Commissioner Adam Waters referred Trachten to an initial sketch of the proposed pickleball facility that referred to it as a “pickleball gym and spa.”
“What uses are intended in the facility?” he asked.
Trachten said the “recreational facility [will be] consistent with pickleball health and wellness.”
“Primarily, it would be a pickleball facility with a warm-up area somewhere,” he said. “The developer wanted some flexibility in terms of the language,” hence the “gym and spa” description.
Excited About The Prospect
Westville Village Renaissance Alliance Executive Director Lizzy Donius supported the plan by saying, “I didn’t think anybody could do anything with this particular parcel of land.”
“We are excited that someone has come up with an idea. Hopefully, pickleball will bring some people to come up and buy rackets and drink coffee and hang out in Westville.”
Two other residents raised the inevitable question about the noise: “Pickleball is very loud,” said one. “I don’t want to hear a constant pop pop pop. Some people equate it to a shooting range.”
Trachten replied that the noise shouldn’t be an issue as the courts will be indoors. “We’re not going to have those concerns, ” he said.
Maz Burbank was worried about the traffic: “I would love to have pickleball in the area. If they can figure out the traffic, I’ll be all in favor.”
There appear to be “traffic signal improvements” already underway on that stretch of Blake and Whalley, he added. Any traffic problems the new pickleball building may present must also be resolved through the site plan review process before the City Plan Commission.
The questions about traffic “will be addressed in one form or fashion through the site plan.”
BZA Chair Mildred Melendez finished by saying the City Plan Commission will review the zoning relief request before handing it back to the zoning board for final deliberations and a vote.
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