Dunn: Will residents have input on pickleball?

Posted 12/4/21

Recently I found out that plans are getting ready to reline the Kuentz tennis courts to be used by both tennis and pickleball.

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Dunn: Will residents have input on pickleball?

Posted

Recently I found out that plans are getting ready to reline the Kuentz tennis courts to be used by both tennis and pickleball.

I did not know that pickleball had been approved to use the Kuentz courts by the governing board or the committees. Later learned that this expansion of pickleball is a “trial.” What happens after this ends? A review and comments?

It has been reported that the Pickleball Club has a “Good Neighbor Program” and we have yet to hear from the club. There have been no neighborhood meetings on the proposed implementation of pickleball at the Kuentz tennis courts. In January 2021 the issue of having a meeting was delayed as being too soon. February 2021 it was delayed again. Properties Committee minutes for Feb. 4 state, “The club currently has a Good Neighbor Program.” It is too early in this project to engage them (neighbors) in the discussion of this project, but they will be contacted when appropriate.

At the Oct. 21 governing board meeting the issue of having a meeting was raised. The general manager said he would look into having such a meeting. Many homes on 145th Avenue Desert Glen Drive and Yukon Drive back up to the courts that will be used for pickleball and they will be impacted by this use. As of this date the GM has not scheduled a meeting with the neighbors.

Pickleball is noisier than other activities. Using a phone app to measure sounds I went to Palm Ridge Recreation Center and obtained a reading of 80-82 decibels by the 18 pickleball courts. R.H. Johnson courts had readings of 78-84 in the parking lot of the courts. A Kuentz reading at the tennis courts was 60 decibel. Visit the current pickleball courts to see for yourself what the noise level will be like.

A formal sound measuring service would record current levels and be able to predict future levels for the surrounding neighborhood. Extended or repeated exposure to sounds at or more than 60 decibels is too loud and can cause hearing loss. This means that the acceptable noise level for humans is at or below 60 decibels.

People that just bought homes knew of noise from softball. It’s likely they knew nothing about future pickleball noise.

There are currently 18 pickleball courts at Palm Ridge and eight at R.H. Johnson. These courts are not used all the time as you can witness in the afternoon and evening when very few are in use. If the Kuentz courts are implemented, then this will make Sun City West one of the largest pickleball complexes in the U.S. and probably the largest per capita.

Who will schedule the courts for tennis and pickleball? Will the courts be used equally by both clubs? What happens when all of the Kuentz tennis courts are fixed and back in use? Will they be for either club exclusively? Tennis may get six hours per week and pickleball will have the rest of the hours.

Kuentz parking is an issue and will be more so if pickleball is also using the parking lots. The many clubs — woodworking, softball, Stardust Theater and others — use the parking.

The tennis club currently have six Kuentz courts (three are out of service) and 16 at R.H. Johnson. The tennis club will have lost 50% of their courts with this expansion.

At the March 5 Properties Committee meeting there was a recommendation on pickleball expansion plans. Roberta Davidson, committee chairwoman, related that her committee recommended to the governing board to delay the pickleball expansion project until the development of the formal community master plan. What is the response from Chartered Clubs and space utilization on the pickleball expansion?

At the Feb. 25 governing board meeting the minutes state that expansion is premature considering limited additional parking at Kuentz. The March 4 Properties Committee minutes state that pickleball club has a need for courts but is this a want or a need for the association? There was a discussion on this topic at this meeting and more information can be found in the minutes. The March 4 governing board minutes also show that the Properties Committee recommendation is to delay the pickleball expansion project until a community master plan finished. The April 9 governing board minutes show that pickleball and tennis requests were denied.

Since the recommendation of the Properties Committee is to delay this project, why does the project move ahead of the recommendation to wait? Who authorized this project? If it’s the governing board, then they should be taking the recommendations of the committees. If not, then the committees should be disbanded.

It seems like the process has been to push forward with changes at Kuentz without notifying people and not getting approvals by the committees and board. I could not find anywhere that the governing board approved this project. Who is in charge here?

There is a plan to look into future demographics for the “younger” generations. It would be wise to wait for this report before committing to this project.

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