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Village of Ridgewood Declares War on Pickleball


the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, according to the USA Pickleball Association, the game is “exploding in popularity,” particularly at community and retirement centers, with more than 2,000 sites in all 50 states registered with the association.

Pickleball combines elements of tennis, badminton, and pingpong. It’s played on a badminton-sized, 20-foot-by-44-foot court, over a low net, with a perforated plastic ball (similar to a Wiffle ball) and lightweight paddles resembling those used in pingpong. Singles or doubles can play and matches typically go to 11 points.

The game itself was invented in 1965 by a Washington state congressman who needed to find a game to interest his bored family. The game has caught fire in the 55-and-over community.


But the exploding popularity does not come without  its critics and the Glen School courts have been no stranger to controversy. In the late 1970’s when Tennis was the the rage and the Ridgewood Tennis Association was the be all to end all , bad sportsmanship was on the raise and the Glen School courts were frequently visited by the Ridgewood police department for both fighting on the court and noise complaints from neighbors.

Now history is repeating itself with Pickleball and the Glen School Pickleball courts have been closed do to noise complaints . Not in my neighborhood critics are even claiming serious negative health effects with one blog commenter writing

“Here is the link to one of many web sites that describes the deleterious relationship between human health and pickleball:”

So the war is on and the anti-pickleball and pro-pickleball forces are clashing  each pressing their point .



20 thoughts on “Village of Ridgewood Declares War on Pickleball

  1. Lets not blame this on the neighbors! Lets examine how the pickleball courts were sited: the Rec Dept just decided where to put them; were there any other locations considered? How about the tennis courts across from Somerville School, or would they next door neighbors object? How about the Monroe Courts where the homes are across Monroe, and the fire station behind the tennis courts? It is also not fair to the seniors who thought they had full permission to play, only to find out that the next door neighbors were not pleased with the constant loud (and it is loud) whack of the hard ball against hard racquet. It is not fair to the residents of nearby homes, when they had no say in the matter, and woke up one morning to find out that the decision was made without any hearing. Does Ms Bigos decide everything without any public input. Yes, we need more sports, we agree it is healthy, but we also need to consider neighbors. It is interesting that many retirment communities have banned pickleball courts because the homeowners objected to the sharp noise. Pickleball courts are usually situated either at other large parks, or in the case of Upper Ridgewood Tennis , whick also has Paddle Courts, and where the closest neighbor is the Waldwick Sewage Treatment Facility.

  2. Put them on top of the parking deck.

  3. Sadly neighbors get blamed when defending their quality of life

    Council ignores

    Others abuse them for wanting their peace back yet live miles away from the disruption

    Think of what the council, village manager, town engineer and parks and rec dept did over at Habernickel park

    Imagine a business in your backyard with daily buses, lights, private parties, night time activities that allow alcohol, feild trips, chartered buses and camps every holiday except Easter and Christmas . Throw in a double yellow line that runs the length of the road bringing down teal estate value in some peoples eyes. I could go on and on

    And all for a privately owned business that could operate anywhere!

    Do your homework people before you pick on your fellow tax payers when their neighborhood is turned upside down without any regard from the abusers listed above.

  4. Yes Nancy Bigios does as she wishes and does not care about anyone. She is sitting on some kind of power hungry high horse She is doing the same over at Habernickel. She has no regard for neighbors and she lies and holds grudges. I cannot believe we pay her high salary I could do a better job with my eyes closed. She is doing a shitty job and we all now see she has her eyes closed.

  5. The current brouhaha is just the latest iteration of an age-old continuing controversy regarding Glen School courts. As noted in this article and as also noted by a Blog respondent to another related article; back when tennis was all the rage, the hue and cry was raised by the owners of adjacent homes (hereinafter referred to as “NIMBYs”) over the use of the tennis courts at that time. So the old adage “The more things change, the more they remain the same.” is alive and well.

    I played on the Glenn School tennis courts for the first time in 1989. The homes adjacent to the courts now were there then, so I can testify through personal experience that the neighborhood has remained essentially unchanged for at least 3+ decades, and possibly more. That use of the tennis courts declined over the years should not preclude their renewed use now, nor should owners of adjacent homes be entitled to special treatment to the detriment of all other Village residents.

    Pickleball is not revolutionary – it is evolutionary, and therefore natural. After all, humans constantly seek new avenues of interest and activity. As examples of new sports activities, look at the next scheduled Olympics – new events are included that did not exist a few years ago. Ever hear of kitesurfing? Few have, but it’s in the next Olympics nevertheless.

    Let’s not even mention (no, let’s) skateboarding. snowboarding, surfing, bungee-jumping, para-sailing, rollerblading… None of these were widely popular (and quite possibly did not exist) a few short decades ago, but they are here now. Pickleball is just one of the latest entries in the realm of leisure human activity.

    The NIMBYs (probably the same folks who complained about tennis), no doubt having threatened the Village with lawsuits (which is the usual course of action nowadays for “the Great Oppressed”), have already extracted “compensation” of a sort, forcing the Village to take action to reduce the “loud noise” level.

    To wit: pickleball players at Glenn courts are now required to use a specific pickleball because it produces a measurably lower decibel level reading than any other pickleball. This requirement is enforced thru random visits by RPD officers, who surely have better things to do than check pickleball compliance.

    The Village has also installed, in an attempt to satisfy the NIMBYs, a sound-deadening fabric cover over the entire chain-link fence surrounding the courts. No doubt this cover was not donated – it had to cost more than $0.00. Yet the NIMBY’s are still unmollified, and their complaints rage on, unabated.

    The top line of Ridgewood Parks and Rec web page states: “The mission statement of the Ridgewood Department of Parks and Recreation is to preserve open space and provide facilities and year round recreational activities that meet the needs of all residents.”

    How can providing a facility that fulfills this statement be viewed as other than a positive by Village residents (except for NIMBYs)? It is clearly beneficial when sixteen people can, at one time, engage in a health-promoting, socially engaging activity in the same amount of space that previously accommodated a maximum of eight people. Surely the benefit to the many must must outweigh the inconvenience to the few.

    And the inconvenience is objectively minimal – the complaints of “loud noise” are entirely and completely subjective and greatly exaggerated. Let the NIMBYs gather objective, scientific data and provide independent verification by third party experts of this data to support their claims – then an intelligent discussion can ensue and a compromise be reached. Otherwise, let them forever hold their peace – and maybe grab a paddle!

  6. How about trying this.

    Foam Quiet Ball by Gamma
    The Foam Quiet Ball by Gamma is a simple solution to the noise complaints about the sound of paddles hitting balls. This ball is made out of foam, greatly reducing the amount of noise produced on impact. However, the ball plays slightly different than the typical pickleball made from plastic. You won’t get the characteristic pickleball pop from the Foam Quiet Ball. It can be used in casual games, drills, or practice but is not approved for official tournament use. This ball also works well for casual dink practice against indoor walls.

    The Foam Quiet Ball is a bit smaller than a traditional pickleball. However, this difference is less than a tenth of an inch and is almost unnoticeable. It is the lightest ball on the market, weighing only 0.71 ounces. Those playing outside should pay special attention to weather conditions as wind can affect the movement of the ball. This ball does have a relatively good average bounce height of 32”.

    The Foam Quiet Ball is available in yellow only and sold in packages of six.

  7. The neighbors have no legal right to an expectation of no noise. They purchased homes next to a school and tennis courts. The fact that the tennis courts were converted ia not the issue. The neighbors knew what they were purchasing. The Town should not discriminate against seniors and pickleball players. If Village wants to close the PB courts then everything needs to be closed. This is entirely counterproductive. This is Covid and people need to exercise outside ! The Village is acting illegally. The meeting Wednesday will determine the outcome

  8. Everyone in Ridgewood deserves to play sports, enjoy outdoor activities, and live in a quiet and peaceful neighborhood. While I am supportive of any sports for folks to enjoy, that enjoyment SHALL NOT be at the expense of someone else’s suffering.

    Pickle ball players from within town and outside of town would drive up to the Glen School Pickle Ball courts, hit their loud pickle balls for hours, have fun and leave to go back to their quiet and comfortable neighborhoods and homes to enjoy the rest of their day. But the neighbors who live around the courts have to listen to the loud, whacking POP POP POP sound for up to 10 hours a day during spring and summer NON STOP.

    For those who don’t live around the courts, please don’t say we are exaggerating the noise, because YOU DON’T LIVE HERE, and YOU DON’T HAVE TO ENDURE the annoying sound constantly day and night. What if 4 pickle ball courts are right in your backyard? We pay just as much tax as anyone else in Ridgewood. Why should we suffer for up to 10 hours a day while you are having fun? And when I bought my house, there were no pickle ball courts here!

    Ironically, one day I had my phone on speaker while in the pickle ball courts. A woman who was playing told me to please mute my phone because it was disturbing her pickle ball game. How ironic, do you know while you are whacking your loud pickle balls, you are constantly disturbing the peace of the neighborhood and the neighbors who live there? And it is giving me anxiety attacks just listening to the balls all day long.

    Please enjoy your game somewhere else when it is not disturbing the people around you. Please put yourselves in our shoes, what if there were 4 pickle ball courts right in your backyard, how would you feel?

  9. When I bought my house, there were 2 tennis courts, the sound was bearable. The town converted 2 tennis courts to 4 pickle ball courts, with 16 players whacking the ball constantly for up to 10 hours a day during spring, summer, and early fall with the loud POP POP POP sound that’s unending. The sound is unbearable and giving me anxiety attacks. Those sound barriers are useless. Why should your fun be at the expense of my peace and cause me suffering??????????????????

    Please play somewhere else when it is not disturbing anyone and causing noise pollution.

  10. Run up Glen Avenue hill into Midland Park. You would need to play a silly game like Pickleball.

  11. Yep that’s what happened to the neighbors of Habernickel too. And the abuse continues by fellow tax payers that refuse to put themselves in their shoes
    I feel for the glen school neighbors and I feel for the Habernickel neighbors. Time to make changes council and listen and help those that voted you in. And Bigios we pay your salary and that lady who runs ridgewood talks. Do your research before you brashly comment on anything

  12. Please, Anonymous “Habernickel neighbor” – give it a rest! You have been beating that drum for so many years, it’s getting boring!

    All you NIMBYs exaggerate so much that you make yourselves sound ridiculous! How close are you, Habernickel NIMBY, to the actual activity at Habernickel about which you are complaining? I drive on Hillcrest Road often – there isn’t a residential house on Hillcrest Ave. that is within 90 yards of the closest building in that park! Of course, if your children were of the age that they participated in activities at Habernickel, you would change your opinion fast – you would think the activities there were the greatest thing since sliced bread!

    TO ALL NIMBY’s: Habernickel, Glen, present empirical evidence of the reduction in “quality of life” you are suffering – objective data, independently verified by a neutral third party expert – THAT would be grounds for the initiation of a serious discussion and compromise. Lacking that, you all sound just like the spoiled children that spent their summer weekends marching on Ridgewood Ave. who can’t get their way.

    1. “Anon-umus”:
      How close is the nearest court to your home? Just curious. You sound like somone who doesn’t have to deal with the same disruption around your your residence, but thinks others are audacious for wanting to restore a low level of noise around their own. You “drive on Hillcrest” but do you *live* there?
      Should not the onus be on the city and the players? I, personally, would be embarrassed to cause that much distress to others – I certainly wouldn’t tell them to shut up and deal with it.
      Shame on you.

  13. Entitle, whiney, cheap residents trying to get something they did not purchase.

    1. Unless you can afford to BUY a home, you don’t deserve courtesy?

      Lovely attitude.

  14. Why give away the farm to a private business when it could be used for so many other revenue streaming activities?

    Was that the owner who posted above ?

  15. This is a valid concern for both nearby residents AND players and one that the town needs to resolve while being fair to ALL and listening to BOTH sides. Courts in an area farther away from resident housing would be ideal and an easy solution if an area that fits the criteria exists in Ridgewood. If it does then they should start planning to move the courts. I don’t know the history of how they got there, but now that the town sees how popular they are and important to senior rec activity they certainly need to do something about it not just lock them up. Keep them or move them. Let’s just hope it doesn’t take as long as it’s taken to get a parking garage in town to come up with a solution.

  16. Two homes adjacent to the Glen pickleball courts were sold last year because the owners, who had lived in the homes for decades, could no longer tolerate the noise that emanates from the pickleball courts onto their property and into their homes, hour after hour, day after day. Moving is expensive both monetarily and, more importantly, emotionally.
    To all of you complaining about this or that or feeling like you are being discriminated against, think about the homeowners who were forced to leave their homes because of the placement of pickleball courts in their back yards. This is true discrimination!

    These are the families that were truly discriminated against!

  17. I agree that the double yellow line that runs the length of Hillcrest is atrocious. It serves no purpose whatsoever and absolutely does not control speed.

    “ She is doing a shitty job and we all now see she has her eyes closed.”

    If this is the case, then Nancy Bigios needs to be fired immediately since we pay her salary and SHE IS STRICTLY ACCOUNTABLE TO US. How do we make this happen?

  18. Who “forced” them to sell?
    Did the COVID mask police come by and make them sell?
    Did the Mayor sign a decree compelling them to sell?
    Did they sell because they didn’t want to live their anymore?

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