After more than a month of discussion, the Plain Township trustees last week unanimously voted to terminate a contract with Christian Voice of Central Ohio to build a 400-foot radio tower on township-owned land.

After more than a month of discussion, the Plain Township trustees last week unanimously voted to terminate a contract with Christian Voice of Central Ohio to build a 400-foot radio tower on township-owned land.

The trustees had until March 19 to terminate the proposed lease/purchase agreement, as residents adjacent to the proposed tower filed complaints.

The agreement stated that CVOC would lease the property for one year and then purchase the land from the township for about $940,000.

Under the Ohio Revised Code, a telecommunication tower is exempt from zoning law unless either an adjoining property owner or a trustee files an objection.

Because the trustees are the official legislative authority for the township, the trustees had the authority to process the contract without CVCO having to go through the township's board of zoning appeals for a height variance.

Trustee Bud Zappitelli read a prepared letter to the audience March 17, citing personal concerns and his obligation as an elected official as reasons for terminating the agreement.

"I want to thank all who participated in the discussions regarding this subject over the past few weeks," he said. "I am proud to have been part of these debates and events. I respect each of you and your concerns.

Zappitelli also read a portion of a letter that resident Maxine Oldham had sent to the trustees Feb. 24.

"Whatever the decision which will be made on the basis of this meeting, it was nothing short of awesome to be part of such an event," Oldham wrote, referring to the public hearing held to debate whether CVCO would build the tower. "The board of trustees gave their full attention, presented their points of view, listened attentively to the audience, responded in a respectful manner and guided the discussion carefully among all participants."

Local residents have spoken out against the proposal, which would have permitted moving the radio tower that broadcasts 104.9 The River (WCVO) from Reynoldsburg-New Albany Road to a 34-acre plot off Walnut Street in the township.

Resident Jeff Doran, who lives adjacent to where the tower was proposed, has cited the possibility for radiation as a reason not to build the tower.

Others, like Joan Wuebker, said they thought the land was going to be part of the new Metro Park.

During last week's meeting, Wuebker asked the trustees about any plans to turn the land into part of the Metro Park being developed on the north end of the township.

"The only thing I disagree with is, we think the Metro Park will help our property values," she said. "It's a beautiful piece of property just the way it is."

Trustees chairman Dave Ferguson said no plans exist for the land currently, although CVCO president and CEO Dan Baughman still could go through the regular zoning process to purchase the land if he wants.

Baughman was not at the March 17 meeting, but his attorney, Aaron Underhill, was there until the vote was taken. Underhill said late last week that his client has no plans yet to pursue the land through the regular zoning process, but he said CVCO would have to find a location within Plain Township to build the tower because the Reynoldsburg-New Albany Road tower is in poor condition.

"The tower is in pretty bad shape," Underhill said. "For us to sit here for another couple of years without a new site located is not going to be possible."