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Park City

Park City Planning Commission approves pickleball amendments

Pickleball Park City
Matt York/AP
Park City conducted a community survey on Pickleball in February. (AP Photo/Matt York)

The Park City Planning Commission forwarded a positive recommendation to the city council for pickleball code amendments Wednesday.

Park City conducted a community survey and two open house events on the sport of pickleball in February. The results were clear: Parkites like their pickleball, and 75% of the survey’s 600 respondents said people should be allowed to play at their homes.

Pickleball has become one of the fastest growing sports in the country in recent years, with over 4 million players nationwide according to a 2021 report by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association.

But pickleball is also considered by some to be an exceedingly noisy sport. A traditional game is played on a hard court with hard paddles and a hard ball, and some residents have been vocal in their criticisms of neighborhood facilities.

Earlier this year, the city planning department drafted a handful of changes to Park City’s land management code that are specific to pickleball in an effort to address some of those concerns.

The changes include requiring a conditional use permit if a resident wants to build a court on their property, requiring a minimum lot size of one acre, establishing minimum setback requirements with and without noise mitigation, and limiting hours of play to 8am to 8pm.

The planning commission discussed the changes in late February and returned Wednesday for a vote.

During the discussion, Commissioner Sarah Hall questioned why pickleball was being treated any differently than other sports in the city’s code.

“We don’t have highly detailed code for a tennis court or a basketball court," she said. "We just say that it needs a [conditional use permit] and that it comes to us. It just seems odd to me that we are so specific for this one type of use.”

A handful of private residential courts built in Park City over the last year caused many neighbors to contact the city about their fears of excessive noise.

Commissioner Doug Thimm said given the sport's unique considerations, pickleball deserves to be treated differently in the city’s code.

“I think the reason for this specific focus on the pickleball code is that it has been pointed out that noise levels of those are excessive and have been proven to be beyond what the normal noise ordinance allows," Thimm said. "Deriving special and specific requirements for pickleball courts, to me, seems in line. I think it’s appropriate.”

Ultimately, the majority of the planning commission agreed with Thimm and voted to recommend the amendments. Hall was the lone “no” vote.

Commissioners also decided to remove a proposal to require an additional review one year after a court gets built and take out fees associated with building a private court.

The code amendments will be presented to the city council on April 7th for final adoption.