Joe Halper, who was a member of the Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Board of Commissioners (RAP) for almost five years and is now the Pacific Palisades Community Council Parks Advisor, spoke at the meeting on May 25.
He acknowledged the community interest in pickleball and gave a brief background of the action at the Palisades Recreation Center regarding the sport that sprang up during Covid.
The staff at the Palisades Recreation Center had initially requested approval to line tennis court 7 for pickleball. RAP Commissioners approved the request with the condition that the site be in keeping with LAMC sound ordinances.
“The services of an acoustical engineer were secured as a courtesy from Pickleball USA,” Halper said. “The results of the analysis of the sound engineer were that it would be impractical to attempt to mitigate the sound of pickleball play at that location due to the terrain issues involved.
“The adjacent homes to the park on Alma Real are at a height above the tennis courts that would require a 17-foot-high sound absorbing or deflecting wall to shield the noise at that location to mitigate the noise of pickleball play,” Halper said.
According to City Ordinances sound should not disturb the occupants of homes by causing noise above the assumed ambient sound at a residence and the use for pickleball was in violation of LAMC and PC415.
“The use of Tennis courts 7 and 8 [at the Rec Center] are no longer permitted for use for pickleball,” Halper said, but noted that the badminton courts in the gym can be used for pickleball during specified times.
Through Palisades Tennis Center director Mike Tomas, tennis courts 1 and 3 may be used for pickleball at scheduled times if the sound at these locations can be mitigated to be compatible with the LAMC.
Additionally, the current use of Courts 7 and 8, where fees were collected by a private individual as a donation, was deemed as a violation of the city code governing concessions.
Some community council members wanted to know how pickleball noise was different from tennis.
Halper replied, “I’ll tell you. It’s the paddles and balls that are used.”
Several articles in the Wall Street Journal and in the L.A. Times have documented the lawsuits against pickleball noise.
In a March 3, 2020 L.A. Times story (“Pickleball Noise is Fueling Neighborhood Drama from Coast to Coast”), “In a lawsuit against Newport Beach, a Corona del Mar woman claimed the sounds of people playing pickleball 100 yards from her home caused her ‘severe mental suffering, frustration and anxiety.’ A South Carolina couple filed suit against a country club near their home, alleging that late-night pickleball games caused ‘unreasonable interference with’ their ‘enjoyment of their property.’ In dozens of legal proceedings, people have successfully claimed that allowing pickleball violates local municipal codes or homeowners’ or condominium associations’ rules.”
Some Palisades community council members didn’t understand why they should be concerned about park noise. PPCC’s mission statement is “The mission of the PPCC is to protect and improve the quality of life in Pacific Palisades, also known as the ‘Community.’ The PPCC is a forum for the consideration of Community issues; . . .”
The Recreation Center and the Park fall under the mission statement.
(Editor’s note: CTN suggested that perhaps pickleball players could use the Paul Revere tennis courts, but was told the courts had cracks in them, which made them unsafe for seniors. CTN responded if they are unsafe for seniors, they’re unsafe for children, too, and why not try to raise money to fix them and then use them?)