The City Council this week extended an urgency ordinance imposing a moratorium on the construction of tennis courts in the city for 10 months and 15 days.
Over the objections of one outraged resident who accused the council of being unchristian, the council refused to permit exceptions to the ordinance.
The moratorium was first adopted on July 28 at the request of the Planning Commission and was extended to give the commission more time to develop criteria for tennis court construction.
“A lot of lots have grade problems,” Mayor Godfrey Pernell told the audience, made up mostly of would-be tennis court owners. “The Planning Commission needs time to consider those factors to approach applicants in a consistent way.”
Pernell said a proliferation of tennis courts can cause drainage problems. “Every time we have a tennis court we take away from the absorption of the landscape,” he said.
There are at least 45 tennis courts in this gated city of about 600 homes, City Manager Terrence L. Belanger said.
Craig Caldwell, a resident who said he had been trying to build a tennis court for two years, asked the council to be “Christian-minded, looking out for the needs of everyone” and exclude him from the ordinance. He said that to wait another 10 months for a tennis court would impose a hardship on his young children who will use the court for basketball and tricycle riding in addition to tennis.
When his request was denied, Caldwell told council members they were not “working as Christians.”
Caldwell said the tennis court moratorium would delay the construction of the rest of a personal recreation package that includes a barn and a putting green.
If the regulations for tennis court construction are established before the moratorium expires next July the council can recind the moratorium, City Attorney Michael Jenkins said.