‘Court’ case leaves Town ‘in a pickle’

‘What about the noise?’ park-area folks ask

Brass Lantern area residents pleaded with Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen for a break from “the noise” emanating from regular pickleball games at McFee Park during the Board’s meeting Thursday, Nov. 9.

“Brass Lantern is not upset with the sport people,” resident Pam Zena said. “What we know is a problem nationwide with the courts … what happens is when the balls hit the paddles it gets on our nerves.”

She also pointed out the enthusiasm of the players.

“Brass Lantern (subdivision) was built prior to this phase of the park,” Zena said. “On the original plans for the McFee Park expansion, the tennis courts, not pickleball, were to be located in that area.

“Now these courts are located in a corner with the two hills,” she added. “What happens with the sound is it literally bounces off those hills and comes into our backyards. It’s much louder up the hill than it is … at the court level.

“It mentally and physically affects people.”

“I think everybody needs a break, including my neighborhood that’s affected by it and many neighborhoods across the country,” Cynthia Smith said.

She suggested assigning days of the week for pickleball. “I think that would probably be the best solution to the problem, give some of the people in my neighborhood some peace and quiet and continue to allow pickleball players to do their thing,” she said.

George Ellis warned of lawsuits against the Town that could occur because of the Board’s decision that could, in turn, lead to the Town suiing the pickleball players.

“Do we want to sue?” he asked. “Some see it as a last resort. We should not be fighting over something that has an easy solution.

“People have a right to play, but it’s got to be played where it’s is not going to bother anybody,” Ellis said after the meeting.

“I fully understand how you love your pickleball, but I stand by my statements (in an earlier-mentioned e-mail).” Alderman David White said. “Some problems are not fixable — trees will not fix that; moving the court will not fix that — (but) that doesn’t meant that there are not other options.

“There’s always another option, and that’s what we’re looking for,” he added. “But these people who live over there have to live in misery for (the pickleball players’) enjoyment.

“Some day there will be a solution. Be patient … it won’t be forever taking your precious pickleball … think about other people, too.”

“There is no doubt there’s a love for pickleball in this community, and it’s exploded and the courts at McFee Park are beautiful … that’s what they were built for,” Vice Mayor Louise Povlin said. “But in the planning of McFee Park, it never occurred to us the level of noise that would come and the fact that with Brass Lantern being perched above, the noise goes up, and there’s no solution for that.”

She pleaded with pickleball players, “Please do not diminish the negative impact of the level of noise …”

Povlin also suggested building pickleball courts at Mayor Bob Leonard Park instead.

While Alderman Drew Burnette agreed with much of what Povlin said, he disagreed with her saying there are “no options.

“We solve problems,” he said. “We owe it to the residents and the pickleball community” to find a solution.

“I think trees are part of a short-term solution,” Burnette added.

The Parks and Recreation Council “is looking for short-term and long-term solutions,” he added.