By James Corrigan
YORK, Maine (WMTW) — A group of over 50 York residents have written a letter to the town manager and planning board to attempt to stop a proposed expansion of the York Paddle Tennis and Pickleball Club.
The residents say that the noise from the pickleball games echoes through the low valley and into their homes, making it impossible to be outside when play is in session.
“We’ll be here on a Sunday morning,” said Bob Ellis, a 35 year resident of Mill Street in York, in reference to his deck. “Or maybe have breakfast out here. It’s like, ‘I can’t take it.’ So we go back in the house. Because the noise is so bad, it ruins the quality of our life.”
Ellis’ home is approximately 1,500 feet away from the club. He says the noise is constant year-round, and prevents his grandchildren from sleeping regularly.
“My son and my daughter-in-law and my granddaughter lived directly across the street,” Ellis said. “She’s a 3-year-old. And during the summer months, she takes naps in the afternoon. And she can’t sleep in a room without some kind of sound deadening or putting an air conditioner on because the noise is so loud.”
The chair of the club’s board of directors Lauren DeLong says the club’s relationship with its neighbors has always been a good one.
“We’ve always had a wonderful relationship with our neighbors,” DeLong said. “Pickleball is certainly a new addition to the club. And it’s a different sound that folks aren’t used to. But it’s been a tremendous asset for the community and the folks that are playing here.”
She says that while the noise complaints are valid, the club’s location near Route 91 means the noise issues go both ways.
“There are always going to be a few neighbors who aren’t pleased of course,” DeLong said. “But really, 91 is a very busy road. So we all struggle with the noise. We don’t love the sound of the trucks and the cars, but we just try and do our best to keep our eye on the ball.”
Ellis says the noise has hit the longest-term residents the hardest.
“I talked to one of my neighbors,” Ellis said. “They’ve lived on this road for 45 years. They’ve raised kids, they see my kids grow up here. They’re great neighbors. When I started talking to her about it, she started crying. She goes, ‘this is our forever home. And now they just ruined it with this noise.’”
The proposed expansion would add more pickleball courts and extra parking space at the club. DeLong says her message to those who complain about the noise is to come to the club to experience it for themselves.
“I’d get on the waitlist pretty fast,” DeLong said when asked directly what her response would be if she was in the residents’ situation. “We have over 200 waiting to become members. So it’s pretty popular. It’s the fastest-growing sport in the country. So if you can’t beat it, join it, right?”
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