Pickleball proceeding in Oakmont
Armed with an acoustic study showing noise from pickleball play would be within city standards, Oakmont’s governing body is seeking city approval for converting two East Recreation Center tennis courts for pickleball play.
OVA President Gloria Young said that since the study showed pickleball at the East Rec’s lower courts would not violate the city’s noise code, she expected the city would issue a conditional use permit.
The vote to proceed came four years after a committee first recommended building new pickleball courts, triggering a community dispute over costs and esthetics that affected board elections and led to sometimes rancorous community debate.
Meanwhile, pickleball players are using a temporarily restriped East Rec tennis court for the sport, which has proven popular in senior communities.
Resident Herb Bieser, who organized a test with 24 players, told the board that it showed sound from the play was below the city’s 55 decibel limit.
Jonathan Lopez of Bollard Acoustical Consultants of Loomis, California, said his firm measured sound around the courts and on the patios or decks of four nearby homes whose owners agreed to host the equipment.
Young said the tests showed noise levels about 7.75 decibels below the city’s limit. The level at the homes measured was about 9.8 decibels below the limit, she said.
Lopez said that while the pickleball play would comply with the city’s noise limit, added noise reduction could be achieved by adding the sound-blocking material Acousti-Fence on two sides of the courts. The OVA will explore whether the existing court fences would need to be strengthened to bear the weight of the noise-reducing material.
The board’s vote to proceed was 6-0, with director Carolyn Bettencourt absent.
“The addition of six world-class pickleball courts, along with six world-class tennis courts, places Oakmont Village Association in the forefront of desirable destinations for people seeking retirement homes,” Young said.
She said the court conversion was projected to cost around $60,000, far less than the $463,000 estimate for building new pickleball courts at the central complex. Construction on those courts was halted earlier this year following the election of board members opposed to the project.
A long-range planning committee recommended building courts for pickleball in September 2013. Play on the temporarily restriped tennis surface began that November.