The Glenview, Ill. club received unanimous approval from the Village board for the addition of six pickleball courts planned to open in summer 2024, plus a parking lot and patio. Neighbors opposed the plan, citing noise and light pollution.
The Glenview (Ill.) Village Board voted unanimously June 6 to allow pickleball courts at the Valley Lo Club, the Chicago Tribune reported. The vote paves the way for final approval of six pickleball courts planned to open in summer 2024, plus a parking lot and patio. The village’s Development Adjustments Commission held four public hearings on the club’s application this spring.
“We’re delighted to get the courts built,” said Valley Lo Club President Noah Finkel.
The pickleball courts will be constructed on the property’s west side along a branch of the Chicago River, the Tribune reported. Tom Beckmann, who lives on Valley Lo Lake, told the board neighbors are vehemently opposed to the addition of another party venue.
“The club already has multiple venues that infringe on our peace,” Beckmann said. “This pattern of deception, these outright lies, is an insult to the neighbors, the DAC and this board and should not be tolerated.”
William J. Seitz, of Glenview, said Valley Lo Club’s application lacked an environmental impact study, the Tribune reported. The village maintains the section of land is not classified for required review by environmental committees or commissions.
“It really does need to be studied by experts,” Seitz told trustees.
Seitz said later he did not believe the village was following its own ordinances, the Tribune reported.
“The club is the one that had the burden of proof,” he said. “The Board of Trustees has all the authority to require the environmental [piece] and they didn’t do it.”
Sheri Latash, co-founder of Greener Glenview, told the board about the importance of ecological preservation, especially for birds at migration season, the Tribune reported.
“It’s particularly frustrating that at every turn of this project, the village has opted out of a demonstrable commitment to the environment,” Latash said.
She said concerns include light pollution potentially confusing wildlife and stormwater drainage into an ecosystem because impervious surfaces for pickleball and parking, the Tribune reported.
“We think we’re a healthy distance away from the river,” Finkel said. “We are not disturbing any wildlife habitat.”
The board asked to modify hours of pickleball night operation to defray the time court lights would be on, the Tribune reported.
Some homeowners with waterfront property on the 28-acre lake say pickleball court lighting will add more glare to the lake surface, affecting residential enjoyment, the Tribune reported. Neighbors also said they worry Valley Lo Club will become chaotic with numerous events scheduled and now pickleball adding more noise pollution projected across the lake.
“Instead of hearing the birds, ducks and geese, we will be hearing the bonking sound of the paddles,” wrote one homeowner via board correspondence.
Steve Strauss, a lakefront homeowner and vice president of the Valley Lo Homeowners Association, said 30 lakefront homes and eight not on shoreline belong to the homeowners association, the Tribune reported.
“It’s a beautiful place to live,” Strauss said.
Strauss presented lake surface photographs to demonstrate how light sourced from the club at night adversely reflects on the water, the Tribune reported.
“We’re not really opposed to the pickleball, we just want protections, sound protection and light protection,” he said. “We’re happy for the club, we’re happy they’re doing great, we’re happy to live there. But we just want simple protections.”
Supporters of pickleball included Brian McCall of Glenview, an orthopedic surgeon, who has been a Valley Lo Club member since 2008, the Tribune reported.
“Because I’m a 50-year-old guy, I’m going to be playing pickle,” McCall said. “I see a large rise in this sport professionally. It’s good for our community for people to stay active.”
Village Trustee Mary W. Cooper said pickleball enthusiasts need evening hours to play if they work during the day, the Tribune reported.
“In terms of pickle, it’s exploding,” Cooper said. “This town has huge demand for it, so I think it’s fantastic that Valley Lo is addressing the pickle demand.”
Cooper said the courts there will take some of the pressure off the Glenview Park District, the Tribune reported.
“I think this is a fantastic, proactive idea by Valley Lo and I know that Valley Lo is really a good steward of the lake,” she said. “I think that the residents who are on the lake are the beneficiaries.”
Finkel said pickleball courts are vital for the club to remain competitive.
“We could lose members to other clubs if we don’t have this,” Finkel said. “This has now become a necessity for our club to have.”
He said 326 club members, out of close to 500 members, voted in favor of adding the courts, the Tribune reported.
“It’s been a very popular sport throughout the whole community and the country,” Finkel said.