KIRKWOOD, Mo. – Overlooking the brand-new pickleball courts she worked hard to head off, Julie Missey reflected on the problem with her neighbor’s property.
“We had given the club substantial evidence before they built the pickleball courts that they were building too close to residential properties,” she said. “And now their members have a pickleball facility they can’t even use.”
The results of a sound study revealed on Monday that noise generated by pickleball play on Greenbriar Hills Country Club’s courts exceeded acceptable levels under St. Louis County’s noise ordinance.
“I’m relieved for the time being that my neighbors and I aren’t going to be subjected to the constant crack of a pickleball paddle,” Missey said.
“The end result is that it was too loud,” Jonathan Raiche, Kirkwood’s Planning and Development Services Coordinator, said.
FOX 2 first interviewed Raiche in January, after Kirkwood’s City Council approved the Greenbriar Hills plan to construct the courts.
“The approval that was granted is only valid if the post-construction sound study shows they’re actually meeting the county’s noise ordinance,” Raiche said in January.
Greenbriar Hills Country Club proceeded to build the courts, knowing they couldn’t be used for pickleball play unless they passed the sound test.
In August, we watched as acoustical engineers gathered sound data during pickleball play. On Monday, the results were released. The engineers concluded that continuous play of pickleball for a one-hour duration exceeds the St. Louis County Noise Related Ordinance.
That means no permit until those noise levels are satisfied.
“That’s right. Our job is to make sure they meet the code; meet the requirements,” Raice said. “And we’ll hold them to that by any means we can. Once they comply and meet all those, they’ll be able to use the courts.”
A representative for the country club shared a statement with us that reads in part: “We are planning additional sound mitigation to the courts, and a follow-up study will be conducted. This process will continue until it is determined that the playing of pickleball is compliant with the St. Louis County Code.”
That’s why Missey isn’t too excited about buying time in a pickleball court conflict she and her neighbors may eventually lose.
“Meanwhile, we’re reminded every time we look out our kitchen window where we used to have a peaceful green valley,” she said. “Now, we’re looking at this really unattractive black wall that’s only going to get bigger and taller as they try to address the noise.”