Volume 8, Issue 24  |  March 24, 2023Subscribe

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Letters to the Editor

Why not lights at the Bonita Canyon pickleball courts?

(The following was a letter sent to Honorable Mayor Noah Blom, members of the City Council, City Manager Grace Leung and Recreation & Senior Services Director Sean Levin)


This is a request that the City of Newport Beach install LED lights for the four (4) pickleball courts located at Bonita Canyon Sports Park (BCSP) West/Field 6.


The four pickleball courts at BCSP were constructed in 2017 when pickleball was still a little-known growing sport (Attachment A).

One of the primary concerns of the sport was the amount of sound it created. To address this concern, the courts were not only placed in the far northwest part of the park, but the padded sound barriers were put up on the chain link fencing facing the Port Street residences. Our understanding is that as a matter of practice for all Newport Beach parks courts and fields, lights for the new pickleball courts were not installed due to “light pollution.” A precedent has been established by the Parks Commission to allow lighting of the west soccer fields at BCPC since 2019 (Attachment B).

These mobile lights are over 30 feet tall and directly across One Ford Street [Road] and within 300 feet of the fields.

The Bonita Canyon Pickleheads Club is a community of friendly competitors seeking social camaraderie that has organically coalesced around its mutual love of pickleball. It currently has over 215 members and counting. Its members have taken pride in our courts, such as fabricating an ingenious paddle rack for an orderly rotation of waiting players, clarify court rules and mediate disputes among players, buying a surface squeegee and broom to dry the courts, cleaning up leaves and debris after a storm, welcoming beginner players and newcomers to Newport, and providing lost and found services.


Pickleball across the nation and certainly in Newport Beach is undeniably a popular participatory sport and builds a positive social community for all ages. It is often cited as the fastest growing sport in America. (Attachment C)

The courts have a tremendous demand for playing time at all times. Often with 16 players on the courts, there are 20 paddles queued up to play (Attachment D). 

The queue gets even worse in the afternoon when Coach Mel has lessons, reducing the number of courts from 4 to 3 and sometimes just 2 courts.

Currently the rules for playing time is from 7 a.m. to dusk, which in the winter means around 5 p.m. and the summer time up to around 9 p.m. Those that work, go to school, or have other obligations during the day, and those that cannot play due to long wait times (often 30-45 minutes between games) are unable to play in the winter after 5 p.m. Extending playing into the evenings may allow for reserved group play, such as round robins or pickleball parties. There are those sensitive to harmful UV rays or susceptible to melanoma who prefer or can only play after sunset. Some players have continued to play on the unlit courts in the twilight hours which can create a dangerous condition for possible injury and potential liability for the city.

With the recent advent of energy efficient and cost-effective LED lights that are highly directional, the issue of “light pollution” is mitigated (Attachment E) and only a soft bloom would be observable over the courts. The nearest Port Street homes are more than 300 feet away (Attachment F).

Sound would be no more of an issue than what is currently occurring in the summer months when we play until 9 p.m. We have reached out to the five residents whose backyard faces the park on the west side of Port Abbey Lane about our request for lights at the pickleball courts.


An electrical contractor has estimated the cost of installing LED court lights would be $75,000. The funding for the lights may come from Park Fees, which also funded the original construction of the courts. Or it may be within the Parks Department maintenance or contingency budget; if not, it could be placed in the FY2023-24 General Fund CIP budget. 

Pay per use meters also could be installed for initial cost recovery and ongoing energy costs.


With the installation of court lights on the pickleball courts, it would allow an existing valuable city asset to extend playing time for so many players during the wintertime by 4 hours per day. BCSP pickleball courts attract players from not only all over south Orange County, but throughout the country since Newport Beach is a tourist destination particularly in the winter months. The community benefits for the healthy enjoyment of its citizens, spreading out playing time, and a potential reduction of crime with a positive activity, are some of the basis for approving this request. The City of Newport Beach is rightfully proud of such a premier public facility, yet missing a key component.

Why let BCSP pickleball courts sit unused during the winter evening hours?


Bonita Canyon Pickleheads

Lights at Bonita Canyon pickleball courts would allow more people to play

I live in the Bonita Canyon Community which is a short five-minute skateboard ride to the pickleball courts at Bonita Canyon Sports Park. In the past, if I was not at school or playing a sport, I would spend my time on electronics.

However, since I started playing pickleball, I no longer spend time on electronics. Instead, I spend my weekends and some days after school at the Bonita Canyon Sports Park playing pick-up games with people in my community.

I love that people of all ages, young and old, play together. So many people love playing pickleball that there is usually a line. It is unfortunate that we are forced to stop playing at sunset. 

If Bonita Canyon Sports Park added lights to the courts more people in the community would be able to enjoy the game. I know even my dad would like to go after work if that were an option.

The only courts in Newport Beach that have lights are private clubs that charge a membership fee. I am (asking) the City Council to add lights at Bonita Canyon Sports Park which will benefit all the people of Newport Beach.

Jackson Creamer

Newport Beach

Rouda is back at it and brings with him some strong credentials

Just over two weeks ago, Harley Rouda, former congressman from Orange County, announced that in 2024 he is running for the seat that will be vacated by Katie Porter, in the newly created 47th Congressional District which consists of Newport Beach, Irvine, Laguna Beach, Seal Beach and Costa Mesa.   

Harley has established a loyal support group in coastal Orange County which dates back to the election of 2018. At the end of his first six months in office, he became the most legislatively productive freshman member of Congress, having introduced 59 legislative measures and getting three bills signed into law. Rouda and his office returned more than $2 million directly to his former district, CA-48 and more than $40 million to Orange County’s businesses.

Harley was in office when the COVID pandemic first hit and consequently brought $554 million back to Orange County to help fight COVID-19. He wrote a bipartisan bill to provide $25,000 to small businesses to update their PPE stock (Personal Protective Equipment) and to create an environment that was both safe for workers and safe to re-open. It is interesting to note that when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit Orange County, Harley stopped his campaign and asked businesses around Orange County to donate tens of thousands of PPE to Orange Coast Medical Center. 

One local newspaper, which rarely recognizes the accomplishments of Democrats, endorsed Harley, explaining that while they had many issues on which they disagreed, Harley Rouda had “proven to be a credible representative of the district, and a supporter of many causes the editorial board cares about strongly.” This endorsement followed on the heels of one he had received from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce honoring him with the Abraham Lincoln Leadership for America Award.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

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