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Park City

Planning commission says pickleball code changes need more time

Pickleball sun
Matt York/AP
Pickleball has exploded in popularity in recent years. (AP Photo/Matt York)

The Park City Planning Commission decided not to act on proposed changes to the city’s land management code for private pickleball courts Wednesday.

Park City continued its community discussion on the sport of pickleball this week.

The sport has exploded in popularity in recent years, but has also caused conflicts in some neighborhoods as more residents explore building private courts in their backyards.

After a community-wide survey and two open house events on the sport, the city drafted five proposed changes to Park City’s code specific to pickleball.

Those include requiring a conditional use permit, a minimum lot size of one acre, minimum setbacks from adjacent properties of 600 feet with no noise mitigation or 150 feet with noise mitigation, and requiring homeowner association notification if a resident plans to build a private court.

Commissioners recognized the code should probably be changed, but said the city also needed to do some more research before taking a vote.

Although incredibly popular, pickleball is also considered a noisy sport played with hard balls and paddles. Commissioner Doug Thimm questioned the setback requirements and said the common theme among all the proposed changes is noise.

“150 feet seems fairly arbitrary," said Thimm. "To me, half a football field is just a very long distance when the major impact seems to be noise. There is a visual issue and I’m thinking in my mind that a 25-foot setback not to the court, but to the noise-mitigating wall is kind of where I would tend to land.”

Data from a local pickleball survey, public feedback, and noise studies from other parts of the country were used to draft the recommendations.

Frode Jensen lives in Park Meadows and said he wants to see the city conduct its own acoustic research before approving any changes to the code.

“I don’t see how you can act on these code amendments until you get your own expert acoustic engineer or noise expert to assist in drafting sensible regulations that understand all of the complex elements of noise impact that would go into neighborhood backyard pickleball courts,” he said.

Commissioners will revisit the proposed code changes at a meeting on March 23rd.