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Winnetka trustees consider allowing residential pickleball court and pause to discuss sport’s increasing popularity

Pickleball is all the trend. A lot in order that Winnetka trustees desired 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 hung out discussing the potential for similar requests in the long run.

The applicant wants to construct the 37-by-61-foot court with two light poles on his property at 889 Sheridan Road and wishes 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 beneficial 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 manage residential pickleball courts and play.

Trustee Tina Dahlman identified that the Village doesn’t 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 due to a scarcity of neighbor objection, but said “I don’t think we’re saying pickleball courts are allowed in all places.”

Village President Chris Rintz agreed with Orsic and said each variation request must stand by itself and would receive independent review from the Village Council.

Still, Rintz and the council wondered if the court may very well be angled differently 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 includes a court rotated not less than 5-10 degrees.

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