We’re all more than familiar with the pickleball noise problem. However, for a while, it seemed developers were getting to grips with the problem.
A False Dawn?
We’ve produced a number of articles that bode well for the future of pickleball. USA Pickleball, the National Governing Body for the sport in the U.S., announced the introduction of its Quiet Category for pickleball products. At the same time, news came in of Pickleball Sound Mitigation LLC founder Bob Unetich pioneering potentially groundbreaking sound absorbent fiberglass sheeting.
However, the stories just keep coming in about pickleball and its anti-social noise problem.
The latest example tells how the noise generated by pickleball play on Greenbriar Hills Country Club’s courts in Kirkwood, Missouri, exceeded St. Louis County noise ordinance levels.
“The Constant Crack Of A Pickleball Paddle”
Overlooking the recently constructed pickleball courts she had worked hard to protest against, local resident Julie Missey recounted how they had suspected there would be an issue.
“We had given the club substantial evidence before they built the pickleball courts that they were building too close to residential properties,” she said. “And now their members have a pickleball facility they can’t even use.”
“I’m relieved for the time being that my neighbors and I aren’t going to be subjected to the constant crack of a pickleball paddle,” Missey said.
“It Was Too Loud”
“The end result is that it was too loud,” Jonathan Raiche, Kirkwood’s Planning and Development Services Coordinator, stated.
FOX 2 first interviewed Raiche in January, after Kirkwood’s City Council approved the Greenbriar Hills plan to construct the courts.
“The approval that was granted is only valid if the post-construction sound study shows they’re actually meeting the county’s noise ordinance,” Raiche said in January.
Chicken And Egg
Greenbriar Hills Country Club proceeded to build the courts, knowing they couldn’t be used for pickleball play unless they passed the sound test.
And In August, acoustical engineers started gathering and analyzing the sonic data.
On Monday, the results were released: the engineers concluded that continuous play of pickleball for a one-hour duration exceeds the St. Louis County Noise Related Ordinance.
That means no permit until those noise levels are satisfied.
Meeting The Code
“That’s right. Our job is to make sure they meet the code; meet the requirements,” Raiche affirmed. “And we’ll hold them to that by any means we can. Once they comply and meet all those, they’ll be able to use the courts.”
A representative for the country club shared a statement with us that reads in part: “We are planning additional sound mitigation to the courts, and a follow-up study will be conducted.
“This process will continue until it is determined that the playing of pickleball is compliant with the St. Louis County Code.”
“A Peaceful Green Valley”
That’s why Missey isn’t too excited about what is probably just a temporary win in a pickleball court conflict she and her neighbors may eventually lose.
“Meanwhile, we’re reminded every time we look out our kitchen window where we used to have a peaceful green valley,” she said.
“Now, we’re looking at this really unattractive black wall that’s only going to get bigger and taller as they try to address the noise.”
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