Lawsuit: Mission Woods mayor, wife say noise from converted pickleball courts a ‘repetitive nuisance’

FILE — The Mission Woods couple says the use of the pickleball courts has “severely disrupted”...
FILE — The Mission Woods couple says the use of the pickleball courts has “severely disrupted” the “tranquil and peaceful environment” of their home. (AP Photo/Matt York)(Matt York | AP)
Published: May. 23, 2022 at 2:48 PM CDT|Updated: May. 23, 2022 at 2:58 PM CDT
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MISSION WOODS, Ks. (KCTV) - The mayor of Mission Woods and his wife have filed a lawsuit against the Mission Hills Country Club after hearing what they describe as the persistent pop of pickleball being played near their home.

Darrell and Laurie Franklin, who live near Shawnee Mission Parkway and Mission Woods Road, share a property line with the country club, which is about 90 feet from the new pickleball courts, the lawsuit stated.

The Mission Woods pair say the noise coming from the courts has “severely disrupted” the “tranquil and peaceful environment” that the Franklins have expected.

Among the issues the Franklins cite as concerns are:

  • loud music, excessive drinking of alcohol and a party/social atmosphere
  • additional cars for players and spectators with enough room for those cars, resulting in vehicles parked on grass near Franklin’s house
  • pickleball played from morning to night (6 a.m. - 11 p.m.), resulting in “continuous and repetitive nuisance”
  • use of pickleball courts interferes with Franklins’ enjoyment of their home, and they are subject to “repetitive sounds of pickleball, loud music, and frequently vulgar and offensive language”
  • Pickleball “typically creates a sound in the range of 1,000 to 2,000 Hertz which is near the most sensitive frequency range of human hearing.”

The lawsuit alleged that the country club has been made aware of neighbor complaints and has continued to allow the tennis court to be used as pickleball courts.

The Franklins requested a temporary and permanent injunction prohibiting the Mission Hills Country Club from building new pickleball courts and prohibiting the playing of pickleball within 600 feet of their bordering property line. KCTV5 News requested an interview with Mission Woods Mayor Darrell Franklin but have not heard back.

An attorney representing the Mission Hills Country Club provided KCTV5 News with a copy of a letter sent to the country club’s members:

Dear Mission Hills Country Club Members,

We write to inform you of a lawsuit recently filed against the Club. A non-member neighbor claims that pickleball play on court 5 constitutes a nuisance under Kansas law and should be prohibited. As most of you will recall, the Club has had one of its two lower courts converted exclusively to pickleball courts beginning in 2017 (originally court 4, then later switched to court 5).

As recently communicated, before the lawsuit was filed, the Club instituted several efforts to lessen the impact of pickleball play on the Club’s neighbors, including:

1. Installation of an acoustic barrier called Acoustifence. Acoustifence is a heavy mineral filled visco-elastic acoustical material, which not only blocks direct sound, but also has a tendency to reduce sound from reflecting off of it.

2. Limiting pickleball play to the hours of 8am to 9pm.

3. Diverting all social gatherings away from courts 4 and 5 by 9pm.

4. Utilizing timers to turn off the court lights at 9:20pm (allowing reasonable time for players to vacate courts 4 and 5)

5. Reinforcing club rules related to decorum on and around courts 4 and 5.

Regarding the litigation, the Board of Directors and the Polsinelli law firm are formulating a response and planning a vigorous defense. The Board of Directors will communicate any further updates to members when appropriate.