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Subject: Foam Pickle Balls to Reduce Noise & litigation
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Author Messages
TerryS7
(Oregon)

Posts:5


06/09/2021 10:19 AM  
Hello, 4 yrs ago, our HOA stripped an existing tennis court to be tennis+2 pickle ball courts. There was no owner vote to approve this & no one did due diligence to see if there could be problems.

With COVID, larger groups of owners began playing (& drinking) and we now have a group of near by owners threatening to sue the HOA over the noise. We have homes within 60-160 feet of the court. There have been plenty of these disputes in other HOAs.

I'm the new BOD president & looking for solutions. The near by owners would agree to retaining pickle ball if the noise can be reduced. Requiring foam balls be used is on option and I've seen comments that some HOAs have done that but I've found nothing about whether this was successful. Anyone out there tried this and can report results??

Also, there are reports of plenty of litigation about pickle ball noise but there's no case law. That likely means these settle before trial. Any of you know of settlements in these cases??

Thanks much.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10247


06/09/2021 10:37 AM  
People can sue for anything and anytime. Does not mean they have a "case". Many may fall under the "frivolous lawsuit" category. Which means they get tossed out of court before anything happens. Plus just because someone says the word "Sue" doesn't mean you jump. You jump when you get the paperwork in your hand and served. Just ask one of our congressmen.. (Bad Mo Brooks joke).

So the foam balls sounds like a good idea to try out. It should also be noted that if someone buys a home next to a tennis court, pool, or playground they should not have any expectation of "quiet". Which is what the court will most likely take into account. Now playing outside of the allowed hours is punishable. However, within the playing hours not so much.

Former HOA President
DouglasK1
(Florida)

Posts:1605


06/09/2021 10:50 AM  
Threatening to sue is a lot cheaper than suing, most of these threats don't seem to make it all of the way to action.

Escaped former treasurer and director of a self managed association.
TerryS7
(Oregon)

Posts:5


06/09/2021 10:58 AM  
Here's some additional info I've found. This regarding litigations is perhaps the most unequivocal legal opinion I've ever seen : https://hoalaw.tinnellylaw.com/pickleball-installation/

Here's an excerpt: The owners of the surrounding homes will be routinely battered with the noise emanating from the pickleball courts. This will no doubt result in substantial frustration to those residents, may have a negative impact on their property value, and will, almost certainly, result in a nuisance lawsuit for the association.

The nuisance created by this loud sport has resulted in various lawsuits and settlement agreements costing associations tens of thousands of dollars and has severely harmed many associations’ financial wellbeing. This, in turn, is then passed back to the membership by way of increased assessments.

As for the noise problem, these folks have done several noise mitigation projects in HOAs
https://www.acousticalnoise.com/noise-control/why-are-your-pickleball-courts-receiving-complaints-from-neighbors/

LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:1244


06/09/2021 11:51 AM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 06/09/2021 10:37 AM
People can sue for anything and anytime. Does not mean they have a "case". Many may fall under the "frivolous lawsuit" category. Which means they get tossed out of court before anything happens. Plus just because someone says the word "Sue" doesn't mean you jump. You jump when you get the paperwork in your hand and served. Just ask one of our congressmen.. (Bad Mo Brooks joke).

So the foam balls sounds like a good idea to try out. It should also be noted that if someone buys a home next to a tennis court, pool, or playground they should not have any expectation of "quiet". Which is what the court will most likely take into account. Now playing outside of the allowed hours is punishable. However, within the playing hours not so much.





There is one thing buying your home next to or in close proximity to a tennis court. It is a total game changer when the sport is changes to something more louder than originally planned.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8123


06/09/2021 1:01 PM  
Agree with LetA. A lone tennis court is pretty quiet. As we can see, pickle ball is completely different. (I know nothing about it)

Sounds like a tough one, Terry. Can your Board make rules that'll quiet down this situation?

1. Set hours of play?

2. limit number of resident in this (presumably) enclosed area?

3. Limit it to residents only?
TerryS7
(Oregon)

Posts:5


06/09/2021 1:13 PM  
We are considering a lengthy set of rules including these items but enforcement is problematic. One, maybe the only enforcement option is having our security roll when an owner complaint call comes in and have an incident report completed of what the security person finds when they arrive. The gate to the court requires a FOB to access. That creates a log of what owners are present. Put the incident report together with the log and an enforcement penalty can be applied.

We've had groups as large as 20 on the court w/ 8 people playing at a time & rotating.

We've had a drinking problem on the court (by a BOD member no less) and 1 or 2 barking dogs too. So enforcement will be essential at least for awhile.

Any experience with a situation like this out there?
DavidF22
(New York)

Posts:79


06/10/2021 8:04 AM  
I agree with KerryL1 on setting hours of play. Also, eliminate the alcohol. Beyond that, let the people have their fun.

We have had complaints from a small group next to our courts. I'm not sure what people expect when they buy a home next to an athletic court and then don't want any noise.

We have folks who move to our community from detached homes on larger, isolated plots of land. They come to our community, saving a good bit of money on the cost of the home, they don't read any of the rules or bylaws and then expect everything to be the same as it was when they lived in isolation.
TerryS7
(Oregon)

Posts:5


06/10/2021 2:08 PM  
Appreciate the comments.

Another of our problems has been loud profanity.

Most of the complaining owners purchased years before pickle ball was allowed. Tennis play never produced these problems.




Still hoping to hear from someone who has required the use of foam balls as one of their rules.
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:1244


06/10/2021 4:37 PM  
Posted By TerryS7 on 06/10/2021 2:08 PM
Appreciate the comments.

.

Tennis play never produced these problems. " You didn't have John McEnroe play on your courts???




Still hoping to hear from someone who has required the use of foam balls as one of their rules.





I dunno about foam balls, I'm guessing the dynamics of game play change and people will use regular PB balls.
TerryS7
(Oregon)

Posts:5


06/11/2021 10:54 AM  
Yes, foam balls act a bit differently & are not allowed for regulation play. Experienced players don't like them but the HOA is under no obligation to provide competitive pickle ball play. Our town has numerous PB courts in parks for that.

One thing I did not mention. The previous board added striping for 2 PB courts doubling the number of players & ball strikes compared to a tennis court. That is arguably a material change.
KellyM3
(North Carolina)

Posts:1707


06/13/2021 6:25 PM  
Address the alcohol consumption and attendance by guests and the Pickleball situation will calm down. You need established community hours.

Add the alcohol and folks get louder (usually the same folks). They don't mean harm yet they violate the "quiet enjoyment" promises made in the HOA covenants.
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