Sunderland Debates Pickleball Courts Amid Noise Concerns

The Sunderland Select Board’s recent meeting saw discussion regarding the construction of pickleball courts in Riverside Park, a topic that has generated community debate due to concerns over noise and its impact on nearby residential areas. The meeting also touched on the adoption of marijuana social equity policies and a request for special legislation to lower the local voting age.

The proposed pickleball courts were a point of contention. Discussions centered on the potential noise disturbances to nearby homes, with residents and pickleball enthusiasts expressing divergent views. Some suggested the courts’ relocation to mitigate the noise impact on the Veterans Mall and residential neighborhoods, while others emphasized the courts’ health and social benefits. The possibility of conducting a sound study was raised, alongside exploring alternative sites near the school, which could potentially reduce construction costs and minimize residential disturbance.

One resident presented a analysis comparing the situation to other communities where pickleball courts led to noise complaints and legal disputes, highlighting the need for careful consideration of court location. Additionally, there was talk of regulating playing hours, using quieter equipment, and the practicality of enforcing such measures. A suggestion was made to seek legal counsel regarding the process for changing the proposed location.

The discussion on pickleball courts also included the logistics of court management. Ideas for a committee to manage the gates and enforce rules were debated, as well as the Recreation Department’s involvement in overseeing the courts. Concerns were raised about the courts being monopolized by specific groups and the impact on public accessibility.

Regarding marijuana social equity policies, the board agreed to submit a policy to the Cannabis Control Commission, with technical corrections, to support equitable opportunities within the cannabis industry. The necessity and practicality of such policies for Sunderland were considered, with an agreement to revisit the policy in the future if needed.

The board addressed a request for special legislation to lower the voting age to 16 and 17 for local elections and town meetings, approving a letter to representatives to seek this change. Additionally, updates on the National Grid meeting and the town’s summer schedule were provided.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.
Town Administrator:
Geoffrey Kravitz
City Council Officials:
Daniel Murphy, Christyl Drake-Tremblay, Nathaniel Waring, Cindy Bennett (Administrative Assistant)

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