Northern Virginia community grapples with how to handle pickleball noise complaints

It’s a volley that’s taken place in communities across the country.

Now, the debate over noise at pickleball courts has entered Vienna’s kitchen.

"That’s what it comes down to, it’s a quality of life issue, and we want the neighbors to get some rest from the noise of the pickleball, but we also want pickleball players to be able to play their sport," Vienna Mayor Linda Colbert told Fox 5.

At Glyndon Park, the tennis courts had pickleball lines drawn on them in 2019 to attract pickleball players.  The town built it. The players came.

This particular court is surrounded on three sides by homes.

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One of those homes is owned by Dan Leas, and he didn’t mind the noise at first, but it’s become a nuisance to him.

"Every day when I come outside and I hear pop-pop-pop, and it just puts me in a bad mood. Every single day," Leas said.

Leas had neighbors sign a petition.  While all the neighbors who Fox 5 spoke with said they hear the popping from paddles, it doesn’t bother all of them.

Dan Leas says he offered a compromise: Instead of playing seven days a week, maybe council could consider three days.

"That was my suggestion, was three days a week. Just so that we can have, knowing that every other day at least, we can have some peace and quiet. Do things in our yard that we need to do without being completely aggravated. Just being outside and at peace in our neighborhood," Leas said.

Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in America. Fox 5 was at Glyndon Courts Friday morning and could hear the pops around the neighborhood as we chatted with some who didn’t mind it, and others who were frustrated by the sound.

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"Does it destroy my life? No," Cindi Cohen said, "But it’s annoying, that’s all."

Victor Serveiss is a Vienna resident who plays three times a week for the last five years. He loves the proximity of the courts and camaraderie.

"This is the only place I play. This is the only place I want to play because it’s a mile away, and it’s really convenient and I know a lot of the players here, and it’s a fun place to come," Serveiss said.

Serveiss says he understands the frustration of neighbors, but thinks there has to be a better way to allow for more play.

"If there was a way to put up a sound barrier or something like that, that would, I think, be ideal for everyone. Because we have to recognize people aren’t happy about the noise, and if I lived next door, I might have the same concern. So I get the trade-offs, but from the pickleball players perspective, yeah, we’d like to, it’s a park, we’d like to use it," Serveiss said.

Vienna’s council voted on that Monday following a work session this week, electing to reduce the number of days of play at Glyndon Park to Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.