Pickleball Sound Study Clears The Way For ERC Court Conversion

  • Michael Connolly

At the October 31 Board of Directors Business Meeting, Bollard Acoustical Consultants reported on the results of the sound study they performed at the East Recreation Center tennis courts.  Sound engineer Jonathan Lopez described how sound measurements were taken at both residential property lines and patios/decks of homes bordering the ERC.  Ambient noise

photo of pickleball play on 9/8/2017

levels were also measured at both locations to determine background noise levels present when pickleball was not being played.

Mr. Lopez then referred to the City of Santa Rosa noise standards, indicating that the residential standard is the most restrictive and cannot exceed 55 decibels (dB) during daytime at the nearest property lines.

On the morning of September 8, with six pickleball courts in use and 24 players, pickleball noise levels measured at the nearest property lines and patios/decks adjacent to the ERC ranged from 43 to 49 dB.  Without noise from pickleball play, ambient levels were measured at 40-48 dB.

According to Mr. Lopez, the measured pickleball noise levels were well within compliance with the City of Santa Rosa residential standard, as even the loudest levels from pickleball play measured 6-7 dB below the city code requirements.  Following his statement of the findings the audience erupted in applause.

There was some discussion of additional sound dampening features, such as adding acoustic panels to the PB court fences to further decrease the noise level, even though this would not be required to meet city standards.  Such a discussion can always be taken up at a later date since it will not be a requirement for the city permit.

In reply to a question from the audience, Board President Gloria Young said that she has spoken with Susie Murray in the Planning Department and that OVA can now apply for a Conditional Use Permit based on the current sound study.

At the first meeting with the Planning Department on November 3rd, Ms. Murray requested that two pieces of easily acquired additional information be included with the sound study data.  These are an aerial view of the location with property lines delineated and photographic views of the ERC parking lot.  With the additional information included, technical adviser Herb Bieser and Director Greg Goodwin planned to submit the application on November 10 (or soon thereafter).

Much work went into preparing for this sound study and several Oakmont residents contributed their time and efforts.  Herb Bieser helped coordinate the setup of the courts for sound measurements and worked with the ERC neighbors and Bollard to facilitate acquisition of sound readings at nearby homes.  Taping of the courts to configure for pickleball was organized by Al Medeiros.

PB Club President Melissa Bowers borrowed additional nets from Finley Park to accommodate sound testing with six pickleball courts in use.

The OVA Board and membership extend a hearty thank you to all the volunteers who assisted in this effort.