Mission Hills Country Club responds to JoCo mayor’s pickleball noise lawsuit

Mission Woods Mayor Darrell Franklin and his wife Laurie say the sounds of pickleball play from Mission Hills County Club have caused them "emotional distress." Photo credit Shutterstock.

The Mission Hills Country Club has responded to a lawsuit against them that claims the club’s pickleball court noise is causing a married couple “emotional distress.”

The lawsuit: Mission Woods Mayor Darrell Franklin and his wife Laurie are suing Mission Hills Country Club, the couple’s backyard neighbor, over pickleball courts.

  • The couple lives on Mission Woods road just north of the country club’s clubhouse, and claim the hard paddle and ball used in pickleball create a louder sound than that of a tennis ball.
  • The lawsuit called for a temporary injunction to prevent the club from using tennis courts as pickleball courts, as well as a permanent injunction from building pickleball courts or playing it within 600 feet of the Franklins’ property line.

MHCC answer: Mission Hills Country Club denied a slew of allegations in an answer filed with the Johnson County District Court on June 16. The country club denies a number of allegations in the lawsuit, including that it has created a nuisance or is engaged “in willful, wanton and intentional conduct knowing that it is injuring” the Franklins.

  • The country club’s answer notes that it did convert some of its tennis courts into pickleball courts in 2017, and that pickleball courts are smaller than tennis courts.
  • MHCC admits in its answer that the two sports are different, but denies the allegations “that the resulting noise is louder, more intrusive or obnoxious.”
  • The country club’s answer denies pickleball played on its courts are often a “party/social atmosphere” and denies that courts are used for pickleball as early as 6 a.m. to later than 11 p.m.
  • MHCC’s answer states the club’s rule limits the use of the courts to 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

Key quote: “MHCC states that it has taken reasonable and appropriate efforts to abate the noise, and that it met with and attempted to work with plaintiffs (the Franklins) to address their concerns, but that plaintiffs filed this lawsuit while MHCC was making such efforts,” paragraph 14 in the answer to the petition reads.

Bigger picture: The Franklins aren’t the only ones concerned about pickleball noise. The Leawood City Council earlier this month directed city staff to review its sport court ordinance due to noise complaints about a backyard pickleball court.

  • In both instances, tennis courts are being used as pickleball courts.
  • Councilmember Debra Filla, who brought the issue forward after receiving resident complaints, said “the sound differential for a pickleball is like having a ping pong ball on steroids.”

You can read Mission Hills Country Club’s full legal response here:

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