HURRICANE – A Hurricane couple who say nearby pickleball courts are driving them crazy are rallying support to limit late-night playing hours.
Scott and Debra Johnson live across the street from the Hurricane City Pickleball Courts and say the noise has become unbearable. The courts are open from 6 a.m. until 11 p.m.; the Johnsons want the courts closed at 10 p.m.
Pickleball combines elements of badminton, tennis and table tennis and has become increasingly popular throughout Southern Utah.
The constant “bop, bop, bop” is disrupting the couple’s sleep and causing health problems, Scott Johnson said, and his wife Debra Johnson said the noise is not helping her high blood pressure.
“I am going to sue if they aren’t going to make it quiet,” Scott Johnson said. “They need to make some kind of noise barrier, a wall or something.”
Scott Johnson said the noise is not just irritating, but is violating his rights as well.
“The 14th Amendment – my home is my sanctuary, and it no longer is,” he said.
“That is a constitutional right to have peace and quiet,” he said. “I work 10 hours a day and I don’t get six hours of sleep because of the pickleball courts.”
Pickleball play stops at 11 p.m., when the court lights turn off. The court lighting is not a problem, Scott Johnson said, but the noise is. “You can hear every paddle stroke.”
The Johnsons have lived in their home nearly 20 years. The pickleball courts used to be tennis courts, which were quieter, he said. The pickleball courts near the Johnsons’ home opened in 2011.
The Johnsons appeared at a city council meeting June 16 and requested either sound deadening of some kind, which they say they were promised, or that the courts be closed earlier on weeknights.
Several options were discussed at that meeting, including changing the hours of the courts and moving late-night play to other courts. Mayor John Bramall committed to investigating the problem and doing something about it.
The Johnsons have appeared at several council meetings since that date, Bramall said. The mayor declined to comment any further on the matter because the Johnsons have threatened to take legal action.
At a meeting July 21, the council discussed the matter at length. Mitch Bringhurst spoke on behalf of pickleball players.
Bringhurst said the pickleball closing time has gotten earlier over the years; that’s a concern to players who prefer to play late into the evening, especially during the warmer months.
City attorney Fay Reber pointed out there is a constitutional right for a person to enjoy the quiet use of their property; there is no such right to play pickleball.
One council member said the noise level of pickleball play is 80 decibels; Bramall said semitractor trailers measure at 84 decibels.
However, the council ultimately passed a motion to consider changing the hours of the noise ordinance to 11 p.m. so that late-night pickleball play would not violate city laws.
The Johnsons presented a petition at the Aug. 4 city council meeting which has been signed by nearly 70 people, many residents of the area close to the pickleball courts.
A city council work meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Johnson said, and the city will decide then what to do about the situation.
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