A popular spectator mound behind the Jerome High School varsity baseball field might be ticketed for removal.

A popular spectator mound behind the Jerome High School varsity baseball field might be ticketed for removal.

At a work session July 17, the school district asked Dublin's planning and zoning commission to keep the mound even though the city didn't approve its configuration.

The mound, behind the center-field fence, is popular among students who set up gas grills and cheer with a gong and foghorns.

However, the mound also backs up to the homes of the Belvedere subdivision.

About half a dozen residents spoke at the planning and zoning commission meeting about the noise generated as a result of the mound, as well as what they called the disrespectful attitude of students cutting through yards to get there.

"The first season they had this there were young men who told my 8-year-old son, 7-year-old daughter and their friend to (expletive) off," said Greenstone Loop resident Lori Russell.

Brain Hudson, another Greenstone Loop resident who lives behind the mound, said students park in front of his home, cut through his yard and make obscene hand gestures to his wife and children.

"I do like the fact the kids are going out there and they're having a blast out there," Hudson said. "There's just no reason it has to be in the center field right next to our homes. They're only sitting there because there's a giant mound out there and it's as far away as they can get from adult supervision."

The mound was built in 2005 when the infield practice field was relocated and two baseball fields, press box/concession stand and a 10,000-square-foot storage and batting practice facility were constructed.

The mound was constructed to separate the baseball complex from Belvedere residents. However, it was constructed higher than what was approved and extended around the field, which was not approved.

"This is something that works," said school district attorney Mike Close. "It's working for the kids who are showing up, it's working for the baseball team that they have fans showing up."

The commission gave mixed reviews.

"I don't understand why the school isn't bending over backwards to accommodate these homeowners," said commission member Richard Taylor. "When I read through all this documentation, the issue of noise and kids comes up again and again. I think it's got to go."

Vice chair Chris Amorose Groomes agreed it's a problem and said the migration through people's yards needs to stop.

"You built it and they came," Groomes said. "If you tear it down, will they leave? I don't know."

Commission member Kevin Walter opposed keeping the mound.

"I think the issue is, and continues to be, a lack of respect for the zoning process and the uses approved in the zoning process," Walter said. "This wasn't in the final development plan. It's great that it's there and the kids love it, but it's not in the final development plan and it should go."

Walter, a resident of the Belvedere homeowners association, said he spoke with the city's attorney and there is no conflict of interest for him in this matter.

Superintendent David Axner calmed the commission's fears about putting a financial hardship on the district if the mound needed to be removed.

"We will do what we need to do to be a good neighbor," he said.

Close told the commission he expects to return in August or September for a formal review of a plan for the mound.

In other news, during the regular portion of the meeting, the commission approved 5-1 an amended final development plan for Deer Run Elementary School, 8815 Avery Road. Commission member Ted Saneholtz cast the dissenting vote.

The amendment is required for two portable classrooms that were approved by the board of zoning appeals in April 2004 as temporary structures, but now are considered permanent by city standards.

The school district will be required to service and/or replace the air conditioning units on the portable classrooms after nearby residents complained about noise. The district also will have to return for a review in one year.

"The permanent nature of this causes me grave concern for the neighborhood," Saneholtz said.

The district is renting the portable units. Jim Davis, director of building and grounds, said the district does not want them there permanently.

The commission cautioned the portable classrooms shouldn't be permanent, but wanted to give the district time to respond to members' concerns pending the results of a combined $50-million bond issue and 7.9-mill operating levy on the November ballot.