Pickleball is all the rage. So much so that Winnetka trustees wanted to talk it out when presented with a resident’s proposal on Tuesday evening.
The proposal itself — a residential pickleball court in need of a setback variation — gained conditional support from the Winnetka Village Board in relatively swift fashion, but trustees spent time discussing the potential for similar requests in the future.
The applicant wants to build the 37-by-61-foot court with two light poles on his property at 889 Sheridan Road and needs the Village to approve a variance to its location, which is just 13 feet from the lot line on one side.
The town’s zoning board recommended approval with a 4-2 vote, and no public opposition — written or spoken — was submitted to the Village.
Winnetka trustees discussed the property’s unusual lot and questioned the proposed location of the court, with the applicant’s team explaining other possible locations featured mature trees or utility infrastructure.
Trustee Bob Dearborn sparked discussion by wondering what the board’s decision would mean for future requests and if the Village would eventually need to regulate residential pickleball courts and play.
Trustee Tina Dahlman pointed out that the Village does not specifically regulate basketball courts, tennis courts or hockey rinks, and Village Manager Rob Bahan said noise levels for pickleball, and other sports, are already regulated under the Village’s nuisance ordinance.
Trustee Bridget Orsic said she supported the plans, primarily because of a lack of neighbor objection, but said “I don’t think we are saying pickleball courts are allowed everywhere.”
Village President Chris Rintz agreed with Orsic and said each variation request must stand on its own and would receive independent review from the Village Council.
Still, Rintz and the council wondered if the court could be angled in a different way so more of the court is off the setback area. The council gave preliminary approval to the request under the condition that the applicant returns with a plan that features a court rotated at least 5-10 degrees.
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