In response to concerns about noise, Reston Association has scaled back plans for pickleball courts at Barton Hill.
At a Sept. 6 community meeting, staff said they reduced the number of pickleball courts planned for the facility at 1901 Barton Hill Road from six to four and removed blended lines between tennis courts that allowed both tennis and pickleball uses.
The move was in response to concerns about increased noise from the pickleball facilities, according to Chris Schumaker, RA’s capital projects director.
RA conducted two types of noise studies on June 1 — one for continuous noise and one for instantaneous noise. In both cases, RA found that the average noise levels — measured in weighted decibels (dBAs) — were below the limits enforced by Fairfax County’s noise ordinance.
The average for continuous noise was 54 dBA, and the average for instantaneous or impulse noise was 57 dBA.
Staff also plan to install a sound attenuation product called Acoustiblok, a technology that could reduce decibels by 25 and 30 units.
“We feel pretty confident that we can mitigate the noise at Barton Hill,” RA Chief Operating Officer Peter Lusk said.
According to Schumaker, RA has submitted a request for the Virginia Department of Transportation to install a crosswalk over Barton Hill Road at the Sunrise Valley Drive intersection to address safety concerns.
The request was bolstered by a May 20 traffic study that found a high number of pedestrians using the crosswalk.
Staff also said that pickleball and soccer events could be staggered to limit impacts on the street.
RA’s Board of Directors will consider the project at its Sept. 28 meeting. The project will then go to the Design Review Board for review and approval, likely in November.
A contractor would be selected in February or March, depending on the board’s input. The contract will then head to the board for final approval after that point.
At the meeting, residents’ feedback fell on both sides of the fence. As pickleball has grown in popularity, concerns about the noisiness of the sport have mounted nationwide.
Laura David, who serves on the board of Reston’s Harpers Square Cluster, noted that the noise study took the average noise level from the center court and not from the boundary. She said that neighboring residents remain concerned about high levels of noise from the whacking of pickleballs.
“Sound still continues to be a major concern,” David said.
Others said RA should continue to support pickleball and asked for the original number of planned pickleball courts to be restored.
“There’s a shortage of [facilities]. There’s a real shortage,” said Reston resident Carol Dickey.
Some questioned if it made sense for RA to invest money in the project if it yielded only four pickleball courts.
“You’re talking like it’s something bad. It’s not,” said Carol Shepherd, a Reston resident of 46 years and a pickleball player.
Photo via Joan Azeka/Unsplash
A planned renovation at Reston’s Glade tennis courts has been rescheduled for next year.
The project, which was originally scheduled to begin this year, has been pushed to next year, Reston Association announced yesterday (Monday).
The courts reopened this week after the court surface was reconditioned and new court lines were installed. The old layer of the clay was removed, replaced and reconditioned.
The change was prompted by limited contractor availability, according to RA Chief Operating Officer Peter Lusk.
“The pool of contractors that can complete this work is small and are booked through the end of this calendar year,” Lusk said. “RA contemplated starting the project in late 2023, through 2024, but pausing the project for cold weather is not considered best practice.”
Staff are working with the contractor to determine dates for next year. Once it begins, the project would take between three and five months.
The Glade tennis facility has been reopened, with the planned renovation rescheduled to next year due to contractor availability and permitting requirements.
The anticipated start is now late Spring or early Summer 2024. pic.twitter.com/tbn9adZp5W
— Reston Association (@RestonOnline) July 31, 2023
Image via Google Maps
Reston Association is poised to share updated plans for the renovation of Barton Hill tennis courts earlier this year.
Staff are prepared to host an early spring meeting to share the update plans to upgrade the tennis courts following a legal disagreement with a county that prompted RA to remove lighting upgrades from the plan.
The proposal to host a meeting in early spring will go before RA’s Board of Directors at a meeting on Thursday (Jan. 26).
Last year, county zoning staff said that RA needed to develop a Planned Residential Community plan to install court lighting. Despite an appeal by RA, the county’s Board of Zoning Appeals reaffirmed that county’s zoning administrator’s decision.
Instead of pursuing additional legal action, RA chose to drop court lighting from the renovations.
“Reston Association staff ire pared to host a meeting in early spring to share the update conceptual plans of the project,” according to draft meeting materials.
The renovation includes the installation new pickle ball courts and the refurbishment of court surfaces.
The tennis courts were developed as a PRC zoning district in 1985. Four unlit tennis courts with a single water fountain and a nine-space parking area are located on the site. A neighboring parking lot has 19 parking spaces.
Photo via Google Maps
Upgraded lighting is no longer a component of upgrades to the Barton Hill tennis courts in Reston.
Reston Association will not challenge the Oct. 26 vote by the Fairfax County Board of Appeals upholding an earlier decision to require additional approvals before lights can be installed at the facility.
Board of Appeals member Daniel Aminoff emphasized that the county’s current ordinance does not specifically indicate that lighting-related upgrades are considered exceptions to a requirement for an amendment to Reston’s existing Planned Residential Community (PRC) plan.
“Had the Board of Supervisors intended to include lights, they would have specifically delineated in that case,” said Aminoff.
The board agreed with a county zoning administrator that a PRC plan amendment is required for the proposed upgrades in addition to a site plan.
RA had argued that it only needs a sports illumination plan to move forward with 23 LED light poles, which would stand 26 feet tall. RA also said the approved development plan for the area describes the courts as a recreational area and, as a result, allows for greater flexibility in planning.
The project will still include refurbishment and replacement of the existing tennis courts. RA’s board removed roughly $381,000 from its budget after the lighting component was dropped, according to RA spokesperson Mike Leone.
Leone declined to provide a response on the association opting not to appeal the county’s decision.
The proposal includes renovation of four courts and striping for tennis and pickle ball. RA previously anticipated the project would be ready by the end of the year, but the new timeline has not currently been finalized.
Photo via Google Maps
At a board meeting last night (Thursday), RA’s Board of Directors unanimously approved a motion to request more time to gather information and for the appeals process. The board met in closed session and approved the motion with no public discussion.
The board directed the the association to also look into “negotiating a resolution on the issue with the Hunter Mill District Supervisor,” according to the approved motion.
Staff may need at least one month to gather more information before the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals takes the issue up at a meeting on Sept. 28.
The proposal has been hung up due to a disagreement over what is required to move the project forward. In addition to approval of a site plan, the county contends that, in addition to a site plan approval, RA needs to get an amendment to the existing Planned Residential Community (PRC) Plan approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors before installing lights at the tennis court facility.
RA has maintained that these additional steps are not necessary and would burden the association with unnecessary additional costs and further extend the timeline of the project.
The association hopes to upgrade lighting at the facility — including 23 LED light poles. The renovation of four courts, striping for tennis and pickle ball and upgrades to the lights is planned.
RA had hoped to wrap up the project by the end of the year, but it’s unclear how the appeals process will affect the timeline.
The county was not immediately available for comment.