Construction work was underway last week at Herrick Park in...

Construction work was underway last week at Herrick Park in East Hampton Village, where until recently, renovation plans for the recreation spot had included re-striping a tennis court for pickleball. Credit: Gordon M. Grant

East Hampton Village officials are in a bit of a pickle.

Lawmakers are trying to balance the community’s growing appetite for pickleball with litigation from some residents who contend it is an "astonishingly noisy" pastime that has no place in a village park.

The game that combines elements of tennis, badminton and Ping-Pong has surged in popularity in the last decade.

But for those within earshot of the pop-pop-pop of a plastic pickleball striking a wood paddle, the game can be a nuisance, according to a recent lawsuit against the village, mayor and board of trustees.

Mayor Jesse Larsen said in an interview that a village survey showed a "majority" of residents wanted pickleball at Herrick Park, where a $1 million renovation is underway as the first phase of a facility overhaul.

But on April 6, the village board cited concerns from "some of the neighbors" while scrapping plans to re-stripe a tennis court at the park so it also could be used for pickleball.

Existing tennis courts and a softball field are being replaced during this construction phase, which the nonprofit East Hampton Village Foundation is funding.

“It doesn’t mean we’re getting rid of pickleball in the park altogether, but at that location we’re being sensitive to their feedback,” village administrator Marcos Baladrón said during the meeting.

Ten days later, Barbara and Michael Bebon, whose backyard borders Herrick Park, filed a lawsuit to try to halt the construction of any pickleball courts during the park's multiphase renovation.

The lawsuit contends the village not only has admitted pickleball is "astonishingly noisy" but that it “creates a nuisance" in the area.

“It’s a terrific game, nothing against pickleball. There are tons of places in the village that you could have it," plaintiffs' lawyer Steven Altman said in an interview.

Larsen said last week that the first phase of construction at Herrick Park doesn't include construction of any pickleball courts.

The next day, village attorney Lisa Perillo added in a court filing that “concerns for pickleball are purely speculative.”

But Altman contends the village is downplaying its pickleball plans — what he dubbed "spin."

The plaintiffs' lawyer also said village officials acknowledged a problem with pickleball at an April 21 meeting.

That day, board members approved a moratorium on the conversion of existing tennis courts into pickleball courts on residential properties due to noise concerns.

The mayor said the board opted to halt tennis court conversions on private properties after the village received “numerous letters” expressing concern about pickleball noise. The board plans to seek guidance from a sound engineer, according to Larsen.

The village has no outdoor public pickleball courts, but the Town of East Hampton offers pickleball on indoor courts at Montauk Playhouse.

On April 21, the board also adopted a second law setting stricter building requirements under the village zoning code for pickleball courts, including requiring them to be a certain distance from a property line.

Barbara Bebon spoke up at the meeting and asked village officials to extend the moratorium to village-owned land.

She said pickleball courts "would completely destroy" her family's quality of life and ruin the chance for people who use Herrick Park "to relax and have quiet time."

The mayor said the village has been sensitive to the Bebons' concerns and called their lawsuit "premature."

East Hampton Village officials are in a bit of a pickle.

Lawmakers are trying to balance the community’s growing appetite for pickleball with litigation from some residents who contend it is an "astonishingly noisy" pastime that has no place in a village park.

The game that combines elements of tennis, badminton and Ping-Pong has surged in popularity in the last decade.

But for those within earshot of the pop-pop-pop of a plastic pickleball striking a wood paddle, the game can be a nuisance, according to a recent lawsuit against the village, mayor and board of trustees.

More on pickleball

  • Played on a badminton-sized court as singles or doubles competition
  • Three dads in the Seattle area invented it 1965
  • It's named after a family dog, Pickles

Source: USA Pickleball

Mayor Jesse Larsen said in an interview that a village survey showed a "majority" of residents wanted pickleball at Herrick Park, where a $1 million renovation is underway as the first phase of a facility overhaul.

But on April 6, the village board cited concerns from "some of the neighbors" while scrapping plans to re-stripe a tennis court at the park so it also could be used for pickleball.

Existing tennis courts and a softball field are being replaced during this construction phase, which the nonprofit East Hampton Village Foundation is funding.

“It doesn’t mean we’re getting rid of pickleball in the park altogether, but at that location we’re being sensitive to their feedback,” village administrator Marcos Baladrón said during the meeting.

Ten days later, Barbara and Michael Bebon, whose backyard borders Herrick Park, filed a lawsuit to try to halt the construction of any pickleball courts during the park's multiphase renovation.

The lawsuit contends the village not only has admitted pickleball is "astonishingly noisy" but that it “creates a nuisance" in the area.

“It’s a terrific game, nothing against pickleball. There are tons of places in the village that you could have it," plaintiffs' lawyer Steven Altman said in an interview.

Larsen said last week that the first phase of construction at Herrick Park doesn't include construction of any pickleball courts.

The next day, village attorney Lisa Perillo added in a court filing that “concerns for pickleball are purely speculative.”

But Altman contends the village is downplaying its pickleball plans — what he dubbed "spin."

The plaintiffs' lawyer also said village officials acknowledged a problem with pickleball at an April 21 meeting.

That day, board members approved a moratorium on the conversion of existing tennis courts into pickleball courts on residential properties due to noise concerns.

The mayor said the board opted to halt tennis court conversions on private properties after the village received “numerous letters” expressing concern about pickleball noise. The board plans to seek guidance from a sound engineer, according to Larsen.

The village has no outdoor public pickleball courts, but the Town of East Hampton offers pickleball on indoor courts at Montauk Playhouse.

On April 21, the board also adopted a second law setting stricter building requirements under the village zoning code for pickleball courts, including requiring them to be a certain distance from a property line.

Barbara Bebon spoke up at the meeting and asked village officials to extend the moratorium to village-owned land.

She said pickleball courts "would completely destroy" her family's quality of life and ruin the chance for people who use Herrick Park "to relax and have quiet time."

The mayor said the village has been sensitive to the Bebons' concerns and called their lawsuit "premature."

A tipster says he told the state about buried drums at Bethpage Community Park nearly a decade ago. Newsday's Ken Buffa reports. Credit: Newsday/Daddona / Pfost / Villa Loarca

Uncovering the truth about the chemical drums A tipster says he told the state about buried drums at Bethpage Community Park nearly a decade ago. Newsday's Ken Buffa reports.

A tipster says he told the state about buried drums at Bethpage Community Park nearly a decade ago. Newsday's Ken Buffa reports. Credit: Newsday/Daddona / Pfost / Villa Loarca

Uncovering the truth about the chemical drums A tipster says he told the state about buried drums at Bethpage Community Park nearly a decade ago. Newsday's Ken Buffa reports.

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