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Chilmark Proposes New Bylaw to Address Pickleball Noise Concerns

Chilmark Proposes New Bylaw: The Chilmark planning board introduced a new draft bylaw targeted at reducing the noise from paddle sports, particularly pickleball, following public concern over increasing court activity in the town.

Initially considering a halt on new court construction, the board shifted focus to proposing regulations focused on noise control during their Monday meeting.

“The planning board didn’t want to outright ban pickleball, so our intent is looking at the noise ,”- (Ann Wallace)

Since October 2023, the board has reviewed concerns about the sound impact of pickleball, referencing studies from other communities like Centennial, Colorado, and Park City, Utah, to inform their decisions.

“Based on that sound study that we were able to read…we learned about the way the sound travels and the fact that the alternative means of mitigating sounds such as fabric cushioning isn’t very effective,”- Rich Osnoss

Under the new draft, any sports court with noted noise concerns must be at least 600 feet away from property boundaries. The planning board of appeals may require an independent, sound analysis when reviewing court applications.

While not explicitly naming pickleball, the bylaw applies to “any paddle or racket sport with documented noise intrusion caused by equipment use.”

Some members of the public expressed concerns about the clarity of the adjustments.

“I would like to see…more detail on what would be unacceptable levels of noise of a sports court, I want to know what acceptable means and how that’s going to be Determined.”-(Susan Rust )

Another debated issue is the distance requirements for court construction, also how topography and weather affect sound transmission.

“I didn’t move to Chilmark to hear pickleball, I want to hear birds. I want to hear sheep. I want to hear the waves. Now your study of 600 feet, says that it’s an acceptable decibel level. You need 1,000 feet to have no decibel level. I want no decibel level.” -(Paul Iantosca )

Acknowledging public feedback, Mr. Osnoss pointed out that,the proposed bylaw is a work in progress.

Chilmark Proposes New Bylaw (1)

We have scheduled the next public hearing for August 26 at 4:40 p.m.

News in Brief : Chilmark Proposes New Bylaw

In Chilmark, the planning board has proposed a new rule addressing noise concerns from paddle sports, notably pickleball, following community unease over court activity.

They initially considered a halt on new courts, but now they focus on noise control, requiring affected courts to be at least 600 feet from property boundaries. The bylaw applies to any sport causing documented noise intrusion, necessitating sound analyses for court applications.

Public feedback highlights concerns over noise level definitions and distance requirements, with ongoing revisions focusing on balancing community interests. The board plans further refinement leading up to a public hearing on August 26.

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