Following an article in the December issue of the Madison Park Times, a small group of neighbors has formed in opposition of the proposed Seattle Tennis Club bubbles. 

The club (922 McGilvra Blvd. E.) has proposed two temporary tennis bubbles that would cover its outdoor courts for six months each year. The Department of Planning and Development (DPD) determined the bubbles were “nonconforming use” of the single-family zoning and shoreline standards that the club is zoned under. The club appealed the DPD’s decision. 

On Dec. 16, the Office of Hearing Examiner heard the case on the bubbles. The hearing examiner will make her decision the week of Jan. 6. The decision will be posted on the examiner’s website (seattle.gov/examiner). 

Marijcke Clapp lives opposite of the club. She was not aware the bubbles were being proposed until her neighbor pointed out the article to her. A small group of about five neighbors have formed to fight the bubbles, if the examiner’s decision isn’t in their favor.  

“Once they get one bubble, then they’re going to get the rest bubbles,” she said. “You’re playing out there so you can see the lake — why go in a cement box?”

It was too late for the neighbors to get a lawyer when they found out — a move they don’t want to pursue but will if “need be.” 

“[I’m] hoping the city or the county listens to the neighborhood and we won’t have to go down that route,” Bruce Carbary said. 

Carbary lives within 100 feet of the tennis club. He doesn’t want to see the “unsightly” bubbles for six months every year. 

“Would a neighbor want to look at a blow-up toy six months out of the year?” he asked, referring to blow-up bouncy houses. 

He’s also concerned about the potential noise and how the bubbles could affect homeowners trying to sell their homes in the future. 

“I’d prefer to look at tennis courts than a big, white blight,” he said. 

The potential noise that would result from keeping the bubbles inflated and heated is also one of Clapp’s main concerns. When the tennis club has noise, “it’s more audible uphill,” Clapp said.  

“They’re going to heat it, then need lights, then this, then that,” she said. “Once they get one, it sets the precedent — then all the courts will be covered.” 

The tennis club has been wonderful about working with the neighborhood and usually keeps things as quiet as they can, she said. 

Clapp and the other neighbors didn’t attend the hearing, but Clapp was thrilled the DPD was standing up for the neighborhood’s interests. 

“I hope we have a good hearing examiner,” she said. “How would those tennis players like to have a bubble eyesore erected in front of their house?”

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