Ahwatukee neighbors step up game to stop pickleball games at night

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Some neighbors are upset over plans to install lights at the Ahwatukee Recreation Center some adults can play pickleball. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Some neighbors are upset over plans to install lights at the Ahwatukee Recreation Center some adults can play pickleball. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The ARC wants to install lights on its four pickleball courts. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The ARC wants to install lights on its four pickleball courts. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Couch has started a petition drive to keep the lights off before they go on. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Couch has started a petition drive to keep the lights off before they go on. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Neighbors said they were never consulted about the lights even though they pay HOA dues to the ARC. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Neighbors said they were never consulted about the lights even though they pay HOA dues to the ARC. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
AHWATUKEE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Rene Couch enjoys all the peace and quiet he can get sitting out on his back patio because every morning he wakes up to the sound of pickleball.

One pickleball game after another being played just a few feet down from his house at the Ahwatukee Recreation Center.

"The first thing you hear is tink-tink, and 'yay,' and high five," said Couch. "That goes on from sunup to sundown."

And Couch's pickleball problem may get worse.

The ARC wants to install lights on its four pickleball courts, which sit right next to Couch and a dozen or so neighbors along a golf course and small lake.

Herb Chapnek lives two doors down.

He said that adding lights to the pickleball courts will destroy the only few hours of peace in the day they have left.

"That's one of the reasons we bought here," said Chapnek. "We've got the quiet and we've got the peace and serenity. This imposes on that."

Neighbors said they were never consulted about the lights even though they pay HOA dues to the ARC, and sent a letter to the board last year stating that the lights would impact their quality of life and bring down property values.

Couch has started a petition drive to keep the lights off before they go on.

"We have no option - we can't move our backyard someplace else," said Couch. "They have options. They have lighted courts all over the Valley being built that they can play at."

Amy Nicholls is general manager of the ARC and released this statement:

The Pickleball Club is a very active club at the Ahwatukee Recreation Center (ARC).  This vibrant club is continuing to grow as the sport becomes more popular in active adult communities.  In furtherance of the ARC mission and to ensure a fun and safe experience for the ARC members, the ARC Board of Directors has voted to move ahead with researching lights for the pickleball courts provided the ARC also incorporates a satisfactory noise abatement solution. Currently, there is no timetable for installing the lights and the Board has yet to adopt a policy for how long lights will stay on every evening. 

In keeping with the ARC’s  good neighbor policy, the ARC has hired the services of an acoustics engineering firm to evaluate sound levels from the pickleball courts and provide viable options for sound suppression.  Representatives from the ARC have gone to the surrounding neighbors’ houses and listened to their concerns, and visited pickleball courts throughout the Valley to evaluate the impact of lights on the surrounding area.  The ARC takes very seriously the concerns of the surrounding homeowners and will strive to find a noise suppression solution that minimizes the impact to them.

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Jason Barry
Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

Click to learn more about Jason.

Jason Barry

Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

He is a nine-time Rocky Mountain Emmy Award winner who is best known for his weekly Dirty Dining reports, which highlight local restaurants with major health code violations.

Jason was born in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Miami.

An avid sports fan, Jason follows the Diamondbacks, Cardinals and Suns with his wife, Karen, and son, Joshua.

His favorite stories to cover are the station’s Pay it Forward segments, which reward members of the community with $500 for going ‘above and beyond’ the call of duty to help others.

Jason, started his career at WBTW-TV in Florence, SC before moving to WALA-TV in Mobile, AL, was named the Associated Press Reporter of the Year in 2002.

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