Tensions were high in the Mesquite City Council chambers Tuesday, where nearly every chair was filled by concerned residents waiting to voice their concerns.
At the heart of all the angst was a public hearing for a resolution to approve a fifth amendment, rezoning an area named Unit 26 in the Sun City Mesquite development from attached residential to neighborhood commercial, particularly pertaining to a change in the master plan, moving 16 pickleball courts from their original planned placement to another area where homes have already been built and are inhabited.
The eight-acre site would not only house pickleball courts but also has room for another amenity later.
John Sullivan of Pulte Homes explained the plan, highlighting the company’s nod to lighting issues. He said they had used the latest guidelines and technology meeting standards of a group called the International Dark Sky, keeping light pollution to a minimum.
The amendment would only pass with 4 or more votes.
Residents of Sun City displayed their displeasure to Mayor Al Litman and the City Council, with issues ranging from fear of noise pollution, to lighting, to possible congestion because of the use of the courts once completed. None were against the pickleball courts being built, just the placement near those who were already living in quiet, serene areas and not wanting that serenity spoiled.
Sullivan indicated that agenda item 7.1 and whether it passed would dictate the movement of the three other agenda items. “If this one does not pass, then the others are moot,” he said.
He also pointed out that since 2005, there have many amendments, and there will be more so the rezoning may change at a later date anyway.
John Rosen came forward with his comments first.
“As is clear, there are many people here with strong feelings about this particular topic. For the most part, they fall into one of two major interest groups. There are the fanatical, long-suffering pickleball players who believe they have waited way too long for promised improvements in the Sun City pickleball courts to come to reality. And there are besieged homeowners who believe their tranquility and property values are under dire threat to the proposed rezoning effort.”
Rosen said he falls under both groups, as a player and homeowner.
He does support the rezoning, but he said he wants the city and Pulte to take into consideration all comments, especially regarding noise.
Susan Pratt then came forward with a petition signed by residents opposing the rezoning, and who were not happy they were not alerted to the changes before Sept. when letters went out.
“All this infringes on our rights to peaceful enjoyment of our properties.”
Additional lighting and noise are as close as ninety-five yards to the nearest home, meaning those residents would have to contend with lights in their windows at night and noise when tournaments are in full swing.
Many others came forward, most of which were against the rezoning, and there were times when anger flared, in particular to those pickle ballers who wanted the others to know they believed the noise was not as big an issue as others thought.
Another resident of Sun City, Jackie Bonson, came forward and pointed out that the current planned location for the courts is in an area where homes have yet to be built, so future residents would know ahead of time and be able to choose to live near the area, whereas the new location takes the choice of current property owners away, many who chose to be far from amenities.
Bonson also explained the extra traffic would add to the noise as well as congestion in the proposed area.
Randy Peterson lives across the street from and said he chose the area his home is in specifically because of the peace, which is now being threatened.
Others added their input, saying indoor courts would solve most of the issues in question and make the courts available 24/7 instead of just 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Some accused Pulte of trying to make more money based on the proposed changes.
Councilmember Sandra Ramaker asked Sullivan if the HOA had done their part before the item was brought before the council, which is par for the course in these type of rezoning items.
Sullivan was not able to answer the question, so the council voted on the changes, on the condition of Pulte Homes provide documentation proving the HOA had the input at the appropriate time in the development of the fifth amendment.
Council voted 5-0 in favor, of that proposed condition. The room emptied of most of the public participants before the final items were discussed.
From there the final three items regarding Sun City also passed 5-0, with little fanfare.
Other items of note, which were passed 5-0 by the council, were the approval of the appointment of new city attorney Ryan Peck and the sale of the property at 515 Isaac Newton Dr. to Danielle’s Popcorn and Chocolate.
Danielle’s will be building a new location, with more parking and greater access for delivery trucks.
Two men were also given SOAR awards — Safety Officers Award Recognition — by the Mesquite Rotary Club.
These awards were first given in June of 2000 and honor a police officer and fire or paramedic.
Firefighter/paramedic Thomas Limhoff was given the award for his help with a driver, who was suffering a medical emergency related to heat after the driver had gone off the road. Limhoff’s quick thinking saved the motorist’s life.
Detective Ryan Hughes was also awarded for his policing efforts since he began his career with Rogue, his canine partner. The pair has been responsible for multiple drug arrests and investigation and recovery of stolen property.