Editor's Note: This story has been updated to include additional information, plus a response from the chairman of the Solebury Township Board of Supervisors.
A pickleball protester brought his case to the Solebury Board of Supervisors this month and called for the elimination, dismantling and banning of the popular sport from the township.
The township put in pickleball courts at its Laurel Road recreation area about three years ago. They have become very popular — and, some say, noisy.
The protester — who supervisor Chair Mark Baum Baicker identified as township resident Kenneth Mintz — called for the courts to be closed immediately, saying they violated the township’s noise ordinance.
Mintz also suggested a one-year moratorium on “all things pickleball in the township” — private or new. He noted that cars parked in the recreation area during games mostly have New Jersey license plates.
The noise, he said, affects wildlife and birds. He added one Colorado town has banned all pickleball court construction and there are “hundreds of lawsuits across the country now to shut them down.”
After the meeting, Baum Baicker said that town — Centennial City — did not ban all pickleball construction. What it did was vote in September to prohibit courts within 250 feet of residential properties and allow them by permit only and only after a noise impact assessment if they are between 250 feet and 600 feet from residential properties.
Pickleball hours at Laurel Park are from 8 a.m. to sunset and noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays. But neighbors have said the township does not enforce those hours.
Baum Baicker stated that complaints about enforcement date back to last year and that “over the past several months” the township has upped enforcement and the neighbors now appear satisfied that the issue has been addressed.
The Parks & Recreation Board has recommended the supervisors install noise-dampening 10-foot barriers around the courts, advertise, post and enforce hours of play and lock the courts daily.
Township Manager Chris Garges has said the barriers would cost from $55,000 to $60,000. Instead, Baum Baicker said, Solebury is moving forward with a fence and sound barrier at one end of the courts, changes estimated to cost $10,000 to $12,000.