Even after a large fuss to approve an early 90-day trial of pickleball in Rossmoor, the Rossmoor Community Services District Board of Directors has symbolically approved the second phase 45-day trial, suggesting the unusually cool and wet inclement weather earlier this year dampened the true demand for the sport.
After a long discussion and a few choice words from pickleball opponents, the board approved a new 45-day period during in which one of four tennis courts at Rossmoor Park will be converted into three pickleball courts for residential use.
General manager Joe Mendoza said the board did connect enough data from the first trial period to regulate the times of play. In addition, on Mendoza’s suggestion, the RCSD Board agreed to ask homeowners who live near the courts for access during times of play to be able to monitor the noise during peak times of play.
Mendoza presented a detailed report with some data the board has collected during the first trial period and acknowledged “inclement weather” is to blame for what some is an apparent lack of demand for pickleball in Rossmoor.
One resident told the Board during oral communications that in the last week of April, there were only 10 hours of pickleball play on all three pickleball courts,
In short, Mendoza suggested that another pickleball trial period was necessary to adequately reflect the demand for the sport, which he says local surveys indicate does exisit in Rossmoor.
“We believe that if we’re going to consider pickable that we take a better look at it measured a little more deeply this next 45 days,” Mendoza told the board. He also suggested playing times might need adjustment.
“In looking at that, adjusting the hours, we heard comments from pickleball players, and we heard comments that courts weren’t available at the right time,” he said. Adjusting the volumes to accommodate the massive tennis community could take some trial and error, Mendoza suggested.
Also, Mendoza suggested that during the second pickleball trial, residents who have complaints about noise should contact his office so data can be taken directly from their homes during hours of play.
“My recommendation is that we sit in the backyard of your house and listen to you record a video next door. Maybe we will make an appointment and say hey, let’s let us in your living room in the woods and let’s see what type of noise we hear. I mean that’s the truth,” he said.
Director Michael Maynard, who serves on a special Pickleball ad-hoc committee with Director Nathan Searles said “we had a meeting, and we are in agreement that we need to continue (pickleball trial) for another 45 days,” said Maynard.
Searles, who was not present at the meeting, does not agree with him on the timing of play, Maynard acknowledged. “Where we are in disagreement is what those hours look like,” he told the board.
He said Searles would not favor any play after 7 p.m., “but if he were here, he would be in favor of extending the hours.”
“On the other hand, I agree with the general manager to open up the hours,” said Maynard.
Maynard suggested that the board erect a banner or otherwise get the word out through the 11,000-resident community that pickleball is even available for play. “How many people even know it’s there,” he asked.
“I am still for a pickleball pilot program,” said Maynard. “No more, no less. We have some information but let’s have a good test,” said the Pickleball ad-hoc committee member.
Susan Maynard was one of a handful of Rossmoor residents who spoke out against pickleball in the community, suggesting the first trial period indicated people in Rossmoor who play pickleball are apparently not abandoning where they currently play.
“I was chatting with a tennis partner Sunday. I asked him what he was thinking he said it’s clear to him and other tennis players that his view…that this board has preordained that pickleball will be on Court One permanently and that efforts to oppose this are clearly a waste of time,” said Kaplan.
“His comments made me reflect upon this sham process with which our CSD has rammed pickleball down our throats,” said Kaplan. “There’s been no objective data presented to justify [pickleball] and the RCSD has been dismissive of all objections.”
“I guess you can relish in your cynical posture and pat each other on the back for crushing into moralizing the community you serve,” said Kaplan.
Director Dr. Jeff Barke said that even though pickleball opponents are thought to be comprised of a small group, they should be taken seriously.
“So the folks that are complaining, even though it’s a small group, I think their complaints need to be taken very seriously,” said Barke. I agree with that and I do reject what was said tonight, outright. There was a comment made and I’m quoting that we are somebody who is ‘calling these folks (opponents) whiners who deserve noise.’ And that’s a quote. I reject that. I haven’t heard a single person say that,” said Barke.
“You’ve never heard me say that. Nobody deserves noise and I don’t consider who’s complaining about it as whiners. I liked the discussion on the phone with Ralph [Vartabedian]. I don’t agree with him, but I respect him. I don’t think he agrees with me. And that’s fine. I don’t really care whether we have pickleball or don’t have pickleball I don’t play that darn sport. I fix people that do play the sport, the number one cause of injuries among adults. And they see it weekly. I’ll play it eventually. I’m sure so I don’t really care whether we do or we don’t but I want to represent what the community wants,” said Barke.
“The other comment was that the idea of Pickleball is preordained. It’s nonsense. I have no perspective here that we should or shouldn’t. I want to do this in a way that is deliberative and is reflective of the community. And then the comment that we’re sitting here up on Mount Olympus, so that’s a great reference to where the gods SAT. We’re not even close to that and I’m not Greek, and we’re all elected by the community elected and we can be unelected, so be it. So we’re doing the best we can to represent what we think are the interests of Rossmoor,” said Barke.