Attention Requested: Via Paraiso Pickleball Under Fire

On Wednesday September 8 at 5:30 pm, the Monterey Parks and Rec Commission will meet to discuss the fate of pickleball at Via Paraiso park. Please read on for important information.


As you know, the Monterey Bay Pickleball Club has not been playing at Via Paraiso despite the lifting of Covid restrictions. The MBPC board decided not to resume Club play pending the resolution of neighbor complaints about play at VP. For a couple of years, the City has been trying to strike a balance between the neighbors and pickleball enthusiasts. It seems this may soon be coming to a head.


I am writing this post to encourage you to attend the Monterey Parks and Rec virtual Zoom meeting on Wed 9/8 at 5:30 pm. Monte Vista neighborhood residents that support pickleball are especially encouraged to attend.


The Monte Vista Neighborhood Association (MVNA), which includes Via Paraiso park, has now joined with the local residents in their concern about pickleball at VP. They have written a couple of letters to the City outlining several concerns and proposed various actions to the City.


Their primary complaints are:

  • Unacceptable noise levels

  • Loss of parking

  • Park use by 'non-community' members

Among their proposed actions are:

  • Elimination of pickleball courts

  • Instituting a reservation system and charging for court use

  • Removal of the storage locker which holds our nets and balls

They have also submitted a petition to the city with many signatures supporting their stance.


As an organization dedicated to the support of pickleball on the Monterey Peninsula, the MBPC board has been in communication with the city regarding the neighbor concerns. We have submitted a letter to the City outlining the benefits of pickleball and we have also submitted a petition including the signatures of many Monterey residents in support of pickleball at VP.


In the spirit of cooperation, the MBPC board has been working with the city to reduce our footprint on VP. We have:

  • Agreed to stop Saturday club play

  • Agreed to avoid parking in the north lot especially when summer programs are in session

  • Promote the use of quiet paddles and balls

  • Limit club play to the posted pickleball priority times

At the request of the City, we also agreed to mediation with the Monte Vista Neighborhood Association. However, the MVNA voted not to participate.


As a result, this dispute remained in hibernation during the Covid shutdown. But, the City is now ready to reopen the case.


The meeting will be held on Zoom. You can find information on the meeting here and the full meeting packet can be downloaded here. The packet includes letters and petitions from both MVNA and MBPC. If you cannot attend but would like to voice support for pickleball, you can do so by emailing parksrecreationcommission@monterey.org until ½ hour before the start of the meeting.


Whether you participate in MBPC activities or prefer playing pickleball in your own circles, we hope that you will consider attending the meeting to help preserve our limited court resources.


Here are a few suggestions about the PRC meeting:

  • If you want to speak, BE POSITIVE! We have cultivated a good relationship with the City and we don't want to say anything that would jeopardize that.

  • Please do not debate the MVNA position even if their statements are incorrect. Rather, please talk about what pickleball means to you and how it has affected your life. Again, we have tried to compromise with the MVNA and the City appreciates that. If we argue, then it negatively impacts our standing.

  • Please avoid speaking about tourists or other people from out of the area playing at Via Paraiso. This is an especially inflammatory topic for the neighbors.

  • You do not need to speak. At some point in the meeting, we may ask for a show of hands of those supporting pickleball and you can raise your hand at that time.

  • My understanding is that the meeting begins with general public comment. This is not us. This section of public comment is for topics not on the agenda. Pickleball is on the agenda. Next, there will be a presentation on the state of City programs. The pickleball discussion will follow that. It will open with a brief presentation about pickleball from the City staff, then public comment will begin. We estimate that public comment on pickleball will begin around 6pm. Each person may be limited to 3 minutes for public comment. When everyone that wants to speak has spoken, the Commissioners will open their discussion. Typically, there is no opportunity for further public comment once the Commissioners start their discussion.

If you plan to attend, please email michaelalang@comcast.net indicating that you will join and whether or not you think you would like to speak. We are just trying to gauge how many people may be in attendance.


Here are the instructions for joining the meeting (see also the City link above).


Regards,


Michael Lang

MBPC Secretary

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