‘Bop, bop, bop’; Pickleball noise rankles residents

Players at the Hurricane Pickleball Courts, Hurricane, Utah, Aug. 30. 2016 | Photo by Reuben Wadsworth, St. George News

HURRICANE – A Hurricane couple who say nearby pickleball courts are driving them crazy are rallying support to limit late-night playing hours.

Map showing the location of Scott and Debra Johnson's home just across the street from the pickleball courts | mage courtesy Scott Johnson and Google Maps
Map showing the location of Scott and Debra Johnson’s home just across the street from the pickleball courts | mage courtesy Scott Johnson and Google Maps | Click to enlarge

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.

Map of Southern Utah pickleball courts | Image courtesy of USA Pickleball Association
Map of Southern Utah pickleball courts | Image courtesy of USA Pickleball Association

“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.

Read more: Hurricane City Council: Drug crimes up, new budget passes

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.

Contrary to what the sign reads, the Hurricane Pickleball Courts are open until 11 p.m., and the noise is prompting concern from neighbors, Hurricane, Utah, Aug. 30, 2016 | Photo by Reuben Wadsworth, St. George News
Contrary to what the sign reads, the Hurricane Pickleball Courts are open until 11 p.m. and the noise is bothering neighbors, Hurricane, Utah, Aug. 30, 2016 | Photo by Reuben Wadsworth, St. George News

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.

Email: japplegate@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

 

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29 Comments

  • tcrider August 30, 2016 at 9:58 pm

    how utterly inconsiderate this is by the city planners of Hurricane, remind me not to move there. There is no reason they can’t program the timer to shut off the court lights at 10:00pm

  • .... August 30, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    ISIS has no limits as to what they will do to terrorize Americans

  • .... August 30, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    Does Obamacare cover PBSD ?

  • Common Sense August 31, 2016 at 7:20 am

    What a bunch of cry babies! It looks to me like the parks DO close at 10:00 just not on Friday & Saturday. Would you rather have a bunch of thugs in the park across the street blasting music and hooting and hollering? Perhaps you could go outside and play pickle ball those two nights that go until 11:00. Maybe the exercise would lower your blood pressure and help you sleep better.

    • RealMcCoy August 31, 2016 at 12:04 pm

      The sign read “6am-10pm”, however the lights actually stay on until 11pm and people continue to play until the lights go out. The Johnsons are just asking that the lights go out at 10pm when the city noise ordinance takes effect.
      I don’t know the Johnson’s, but I do see where they are coming from.
      Imagine if you had a group of noisy teenagers making noise outside your home after 10pm. It’s the same effect, and you wouldn’t like it either.

  • Tmoney August 31, 2016 at 8:18 am

    sounds like the Johnsons are in quite the pickle…

  • knobe August 31, 2016 at 8:25 am

    Maybe the courts should be relocated to a Non residential area .

  • knobe August 31, 2016 at 8:27 am

    And in the future , noise generating public facilities should Not be built in residential areas .
    If homes are built up later , the buyers will at least Know in advance it has night noise issues .

  • .... August 31, 2016 at 9:28 am

    Somebody tell the Johnsons not to move to New York !

  • .... August 31, 2016 at 9:43 am

    I can imagine the headline in the newspaper if the Johnsons take the pickle ball to court ! Johnson and Johnson vs late night pickle balling. pickle ballers refuse to stand for the anthem in protest of tennis players being treated better than pickle ballers
    Pickle Baller Lives Matter. !

    • Bob August 31, 2016 at 1:15 pm

      go take your meds

      • .... August 31, 2016 at 4:49 pm

        Hey Bob. Tell us how the United States Government owns big pharma lock stock and Barrel LOL ! so what’s next Bob ? you going to tell us that the United States Government now owns the right to Pickle Ball LMAO !

  • debbie August 31, 2016 at 11:14 am

    i signed it. i didn’t realize the seriousness until mr. johnson came to my door. i was thrilled when hurricane built a new tennis court, very dismayed when i found out it was a pickle ball court.. i don’t know where to play tennis in the future.. if i am able too.. my daughter and i used to really enjoy it. when he explained the noise level i felt bad for the guy.. i had no idea pickle ball is played with wooden paddles and balls that are noisier than tennis balls.. not to mention this is a ping pong set up 1000 times bigger than a ping pong table.. have you ever entered a wreck room with a ping pong match going? VERY LOUD… so many people enjoy pickle ball too.. when i go by there, its always got people playing. we’ve all had the neighbor with the bright yard light at night? you’ve wondered, “what is that neighbor thinking?” imagine its 4 of them? this court is snug into a neighborhood… lots of people live all around.. its not right on state street the tennis courts used to be. i get it.. i wouldn’t have made a petition but i signed it b/c i don’t think the guy is lying. you wirte a check for your mortgage every month.. thats pretty serious.. thats usually a whack out of your earnings.. how hard it must be to be laying in bed and a super bright light creeping in all aeras of your bedroom and super loud clanking noises… just my thoughts.

    • .... August 31, 2016 at 4:53 pm

      Debbie. good thoughts. I hope the Johnsons win their legal issues

  • Bob August 31, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    why don’t people just learn to enjoy tennis?

  • An actual Independent August 31, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    Sign says closed at 10. Lights go off at 11. Hey Hurricane…..reset the timer for Daylight Savings time.
    And please stop invoking the US Constitution over trivial stuff.

    • .... August 31, 2016 at 4:38 pm

      We have the right to invoke our Constitution as we see fit regardless of rather you like it or not.
      ..there now I just expressed my opinion guaranteed to me by the protection of the 1st Amendment

      • An actual Independent August 31, 2016 at 8:12 pm

        And it’s being invoked so often, over such trivial matters, that it won’t be taken seriously the next time there’s an argument that really matters. There are a lot of people who wouldn’t recognize the Constitution if it flew through the window and hit them in the head. But they love to spout off about it and claim a “Constitutional Right” to every personal preference they have. It’s there to protect us from tyrannical government, not from the neighbor’s casual recreational activities.
        My degrees are in History and Political Science. The US Constitution is a big deal to me. I’m just tired of people trampling its importance over minutia.

        • .... September 1, 2016 at 9:16 am

          Oh well invoking the Constitution whenever we want to is big deal to us. ….. you want some cheese with that whine ?

        • RealMcCoy September 1, 2016 at 12:19 pm

          It’s being invoked more often because it’s being trampled on more often. “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”- they bought their property when there was no pickleball court. For 20 years they have lived in peace and happiness. Then the city decided to put in a pickleball court across the street from their house. Yes, they do have the right to peace and quiet. If the city decided to put a rock crushing yard next door to you, you would most definitely take issue with that.
          Constitution aside, they do not appear to be calling for the abolishment of pickleball, or the removal of the courts; they are asking for the CURRENT CITY CODES AND LAWS to be enforced- that is: No noise after 10:00 pm. That isn’t asking too much.
          A noise barrier built on the side of the courts facing the Johnson house would not be a bad idea either, considering that the court sounds reverberate directly at their front door.
          If you want to talk about trivial matters- let’s talk about ‘safe spaces’. Now there is a trivial matter.

  • Bowlinggreen123 August 31, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    You can bet if it were younger people with music the cops would be there at 9:55

    Get … off the courts by 10:00
    Ed. ellipsis.

    • .... September 1, 2016 at 9:07 am

      Ha ha you got edited !

      • .... September 1, 2016 at 9:08 am

        Way to go Ed. ellipsis. Wooooohooooooo 5 stars ☆☆☆☆☆ ! LOL !

  • anybody home August 31, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    This cracks me up. Pickle Ball – another wacky Mormon activity with the most ridiculous name ever. Mostly developed for people who don’t have the stamina to play tennis, I guess. Just put the Pickle Ball courts indoors and the noise would stop being a problem…but nooooooo, all those old Pickle Ball players would put up an even worse ruckus. My sympathies to the Johnsons – it’s like having a machine making noise all day and much of the night. Not what a residential area is supposed to have. But the rich old Mormon retirees will win this one.

  • thegreatone August 31, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    Hey Fey, where in the Constitution does it say you have a right to noise free property?
    Taking a little license with the interpretation aren’t you?
    What about the new LOUD GAS golf carts at Sky Mountain? The residents are also going to sign a petition!

  • Ron September 1, 2016 at 9:02 am

    Pickle Ball is for those who don’t fish or hunt.
    The PB court is their “safe space”.
    Stop picking on them.
    They get offended.

    • .... September 1, 2016 at 9:13 am

      ISIS invented Pickle Ball to torture the infidels LOL !

  • sfjo59@gmail.com October 7, 2016 at 9:30 am

    Scott and Debra Johnson would like to thank all those who said they supported my rights to 8 hours of quality of life. I would like some advice on how to get the city to enforce the laws. I would like to thank all those who said what was on there mind that is there first amendment at work.

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