Neighbor complaints lead to elimination of pickleball at Annandale courts

Kendale Woods Park’s racquetball courts are currently striped so they can be used for both tennis and pickleball (courtesy Fairfax County Park Authority)

The days of pickleball at Annandale’s Kendale Woods Park are coming to an end.

In response to noise complaints from neighboring residents, the Fairfax County Park Authority will remove the pickleball lines from the park’s two racquetball courts, turning them back into tennis-only facilities.

The repainting and striping process is slated to start Monday, June 3, and finish Monday, June 17, if the weather cooperates, the park authority announced last Thursday (May 2).

“We’ve found that the site is not conducive to facilitate pickleball play and are looking to find a more suitable location for these courts,” FCPA spokesperson Benjamin Boxer told FFXnow.

Located at 3813A Kendale Road near Mason Crest Elementary School, Kendale Woods was one of 23 FCPA facilities with an outdoor pickleball court when the county finalized its pickleball study report in December 2021.

The study surveyed residents to gauge demand for facilities to support the increasingly popular sport and established guidelines for the park authority to follow when planning and designing future courts. As a pre-existing facility, the shared-use courts at Kendale Woods fall short of the recommended site selection criteria, the FCPA says.

In addition to not having a parking lot, forcing visitors to park on the street in the surrounding residential neighborhoods, the park directly abuts several houses, including three that are as close as 47 to 103 feet, according to Boxer.

“We have received complaints from the community relative to the noise,” he said.

The pickleball study recommends providing one parking space per player at each pickleball court, citing survey results that found most players drive. It didn’t specify how far courts should be from residential areas, but says screening “should be considered” to reduce the noise from the paddles and balls as well as players socializing.

Noise issues have become a common source of tension between pickleball players and residents in neighborhoods across the country. The Town of Vienna reduced pickleball-playing hours at its only courts in response to neighbor complaints, and earlier this year, Reston Association dropped plans to include the sport in its planned renovation of the Barton Hill tennis courts.

“The Park Authority remains committed to providing diverse recreational opportunities for residents of all ages and interests,” the FCPA said in a news release. “The process of identifying alternative locations to install new pickleball courts in place of those at Kendale Woods Park has begun.”

Until another site is identified, the park authority recommends that players visit other courts in the area. Options within five miles of Kendale Park include Roundtree, Annandale, Wakefield, Lillian Carey, Hogge and Spring Lane parks as well as the Providence Rec Center.

Though not a public facility, Annandale is slated to get 18 new indoor pickleball courts later this year or in early 2025 as part of a 50,000-square-foot complex planned by Down the Line Sports Center, which opened a smaller, five-court site in Fairfax City in February.

The FCPA has significantly expanded its roster of pickleball courts in recent years. After having just two dedicated courts — both at Wakefield Park — when the pickleball study report was published, it now has 84 facilities, 16 of them dedicated to the sport, according to the press release.