Long Beach building more pickleball courts to shift noise complaints away from neighborhoods

Rob Hayes Image
Friday, September 1, 2023
Long Beach building more pickleball courts to address noise complaints
The growing popularity of pickleball is also leading to a sharp increase in noise complaints by people who live near courts.

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- How do you solve the problem of pickleball making too much noise? The city of Long Beach says by building more pickleball courts.

The Long Beach Parks, Recreation and Marine Department is building 16 new pickleball courts due to open to the public in two locations: Eight at DeForest Park and eight more at Veterans Park. City officials say both those parks have their own parking lots and are not near homes, where residents often complain about excessive noise.

"We spread out over more courts so we don't have as much of a parking issue and give people other places to go other than just a couple places that we have today," said Hurley Owens, bureau manager of maintenance and operations for the city of Long Beach.

The hope is that the new courts and even more courts planned for the future will draw crowds away from spots like Somerset Park, where the constant sounds of the plastic ball hitting a hard paddle haunt nearby neighbors like Sean Charles at most hours of the day.

"The people who have to hear it all day, they really hate it," Charles told Eyewitness News. "That noise, as soon as it starts, your heart rate starts to go up, your blood pressure goes up. They're there eight hours a day, so you literally have to hear that noise all day."

Long Beach officials say they're working to cut back on that noise by installing sound barriers around the courts. Crews are hanging them this week.

"We've got this sound deadening board that's going to deaden the sound of the actual ball hitting the paddle," Owens said.

The city has also changed the timers on the court lights so they turn off at 9 p.m. each night instead of 10 p.m.

But Charles says the sound barriers are only expected to reduce the noise by 30% and the lack of parking for players will still pack their neighborhood streets with cars.

He suggests cities should only allow pickleball to be played on courts that are not near homes and have dedicated parking lots.

"We need to have empathy for the neighbors that have to live there and deal with that loud noise the whole, entire day," he said.

The city of La Canada is going even further, stripping the pickleball lines from the tennis court at Glenhaven Park, where neighbors have been complaining about noise for more than a year. The court will now be used exclusively for tennis.