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The country club board is considering alterations to Edith Green Sports Park, including new pickleball courts.

COURTESY PHOTO - A group of Charbonneau neighbors do not want to see Charbonneau Country Club put in pickleball courts at Edith Green Sports Park.

To the chagrin of a group of neighbors, Charbonneau Country Club is considering building up to four pickleball courts at Edith Green Sports Park — the lone park in the neighborhood.

Along with grassland, the current 2.1-acre park includes a basketball court, a soccer field and baseball diamonds, which CCC Board of Directors member Anne Shevlin said are underutilized. Shevlin added that pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the Charbonneau community, but players can currently only play at the tennis center, which Shevlin said does not designate courts exclusively for pickleball. And Charbonneau Country Club manager Jim Meierotto said the club pegged the courts as a future project based on community input submitted through the planning of a new activity center.

That's why the board is looking into building the pickleball courts and exploring other possibilities such as bocce ball, a dog-leash area and a covered picnic area at the park, which is owned by the homeowners association and intended for homeowner use. The board, which already implemented a temporary pickleball court at the park, voted at its November meeting to move forward with a master planning process for Edith Green.

However, some nearby residents fear that pickleball would diminish their quality of life and property values. Community member April Marcell said she could already hear balls being smacked back and forth on the temporary court, even though she lives at the opposite end of the park. Opponents have also cited similar disputes over pickleball courts around the country — including in nearby West Linn.

"Most people who live over here want something more quiet and this would be very disruptive," homeowner John Hector said.

They also are concerned that it would remove precious greenspace. Currently, the golf course, which is not publicly accessible, is the main source of greenspace in the community. Opponents have felt that the courts would diminish what planners refer to as open space, meaning undeveloped land that is open to the public. Charbonneau resident Dana Brenner-Kelley worried that there would be less room for her dog to roam free, for instance.

However, city of Wilsonville Community Development Director Chris Neamtzu said pickleball courts are technically considered open spaces. Neamtzu also noted that there was controversy prior to the implementation of pickleball in the Villebois neighborhood, but he hasn't heard any concerns since then.

"There can be noise from pickleball," he said. "You deal with that by limiting the hours of operation, limiting when it could be played to minimize impact."

Shevlin added that the country club would implement noise reduction panels and place the courts as far away from homes as possible. Shevlin also said the courts would take up just 11% of the park. However, opponents are skeptical of that figure.

Those opponents wanted the master planning process to be conducted rather than the board simply voting to build the courts without any public process. They wanted the process to also include the examination of other possible locations for the courts, including the activity and tennis centers. The board voted not to include the tennis center as part of the scope of work for the master plan.

While some thought the courts would be open to people outside Charbonneau, Shevlin said that wasn't true.

"It's being developed for Charbonneau residents, just like our swimming pools," she said.

Some felt that the majority of the board was not acting in the interest of residents, but just doing what it wanted to do. This purported self-serving attitude, they felt, was also exemplified during the debate over whether to build the new activity center and merge with Charbonneau Golf Club in 2020. In that case, though the initiatives were opposed by a group of outspoken residents, the vast majority of community members voted in support of them.

They also described a dismissive attitude and childish behavior among certain board members — including eye rolling at meetings — and the feeling that the implementation of the courts is a forgone conclusion.

"It's very personal for them — that the agenda be pushed through," Marcell said.

Shevlin expressed a different view.

"We always want to hear from the community as far as what amenities they want to have and which ones they value," Shevlin said.

According to Brenner-Kelley, one nearby homeowner is so fed up, he put his house up for sale.

"It was the straw that broke the camel's back in saying they're not going to live there anymore," she said.


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