Pickle Ball Hours Reduced in Response to Complaints

By Al Haggerty

In response to neighbors’ complaints about noise, the Oakmont Village Association Board of Directors has reduced the hours of play at the East Recreation Center pickle ball courts by 2 ½ hours, starting at 8 a.m. instead of 7 and stopping at 7 p.m. instead of 8:30.

The unanimous vote Sept. 18 represents a classic compromise in which neither side is completely satisfied.

Pickle ball players say they prefer the longer hours so that they can avoid the summer heat by starting earlier in the morning or playing in the evening. Nearby residents, while satisfied with the new 8 a.m. starting time, wanted the courts closed at 5 p.m.

Mary Blake, who said they would not have bought their home if they’d known about pickle ball, said she’s not asking for total silence but “a little bit of consideration.” She told the Oakmont News she “can live with” the compromise. “We have to try and respect each other and compromise,” she added.

Teri Bernstein, who lives in the home adjacent to the East Rec on Oakmont Drive, told the ON  “It’s like living next to a shooting range.” She said she and her husband like to eat outdoors and even had a fence built around their backyard to help lessen the noise. While the new 8 a.m. starting time is ok, she said, closing the courts at 6 p.m. would be better.

Iris Harrell said not all adjacent homes have a problem with pickle ball, and said the noise from the courts are just “sounds of life,” comparing them to noisy garbage trucks and the noise made by maintenance workers early in the morning. She suggested that neighbors use ear buds or head phones. She said she doesn’t want Oakmont’s reputation as an active adult community to become “Oakmont – no signs of life”.

Board President Steve Spanier thanked the pickle ball court neighbors for “being easy to work with.” “We need to work together as a community,” he added.

Director Al Medeiros, a member of the Pickle Ball Club and regular player, responded to complaints that players are using the noisier, outlawed pickle ball racket. He said the club members “are enforcing” the racket rules. He said when someone showed up to play with the noisier racket, they lent him the approved equipment.

One resident, wanting to remain anonymous, said in written statement: “Several of my neighbors have recently left, one of them a former philosophy professor whose field, perhaps tellingly, is ethics. I plan to leave soon. Although not the major reason, I have to say that the pickle ball saga and what it revealed about Oakmont is a contributing and accelerative factor.”

Quick Look at Other Board Actions on Sept. 18

By Harriet Palk

Manager’s Report – the reserve study update and budget process are underway; a members only portion of the website is in the works; committee charters are being updated.

Bylaws Committee Report – bring OVA bylaws into alignment with California laws, especially Davis-Stirling; looking into one vote per person, not household. 

Pool Floaties – approved use of adult floatation devices in all swimming pools with lap swimmers having priority – Klyn, Medeiros, Spanier and Kendrick voted yes; Neufeld and Goodwin voted no.

Facility Use Policy – unanimously adopted the policy that specifies, among other things, how rooms will be allocated.

Pickleball Rules – unanimously adopted.  A key provision is the requirement for “quiet” equipment.

Architectural Committee Rules Change – unanimously adopted the policy.  Among other things, it states that when the AC rules conflict with the CC&Rs, the CC&Rs will prevail.

Tennis Club Rules – unanimously adopted the rules that include visitor policy, use of the equipment and access to the courts.

Board Workshop – unanimously approved re-establishing board workshops as needed, to be held at 1 p.m. in the Berger Center on the first Tuesday of the month or other times or locations as set by the Board from time to time.

Policies and Procedures Committee – unanimously approved a new ad hoc committee to analyze all current OVA policies and procedures and report back to the board on adherence and recommended changes to these policies and procedures.  Named members Elaine Bennett, Liz Moore Elke Strunka and Cathy Dougherty, with Marianne Neufeld as liaison.  A fifth candidate will be sought.

Bylaws Committee – unanimously appointed the Bylaws Ad Hoc Committee to oversee revision of the bylaws.  Named members Dennis Boaz, chair, Hugh Helm Joe Henderson, Linda Oneto, Herm Hermann, Wally Schilpp.

Spotlight Resolution – voted unanimously to set aside five minutes of each regularly scheduled Board of Directors meeting to spotlight some aspect of one of the governing documents and/or the Davis-Stirling Act.