The Chilmark planning board has scheduled a public Zoom hearing for input on its proposed ban on the construction of pickleball courts.
The hearing, set for Nov. 13 at 4:30 pm, comes as the board has been fielding concerns for months about noise associated with proximity to the sport.
The construction ban would occur through a zoning bylaw amendment, which would require a town meeting vote. During the public hearing process, the planning board will gather information and public input.
The board decided on Oct. 10 to begin the public hearing process. At an Oct. 23 meeting, the board viewed a statement against the proposed ban, sent by Chilmark resident Peter Bruce.
“I am an avid pickleball player, and I hope that the town will not proceed with a ban on pickleball courts,” reads Bruce’s letter. “Noise issues could be addressed via the permitting process (siting of the court, proximity of neighbors, landscaping), without going all the way to a ban.”
The letter also cited the sport’s exercise benefits, and recommended that Chilmark consider building its own public courts, where it could control noise.
Pickleball was created in 1965, but has exploded in popularity since 2021. Regulation in the U.S. due to noise concerns is relatively new, and coincides with the sport’s recent prominence. Outdoor court construction was temporarily banned in Centennial, Colo., this year — a community that the planning board has looked to as an example — before that ban was replaced with a prohibition of permanent outdoor construction within 250 feet of a home. In September, Newport, R.I., staff recommended banning the sport on public courts within 750 feet of a residence.