St. Albert the Great Church in Palo Alto is dropping out of a controversial proposal to erect a cell phone tower on its property, according to church and AT&T officials.

AT&T spokesman Lane Kasselman said the church told his company Monday that it is pulling a preliminary lease agreement.

"We're disappointed by the decision of St. Albert's to withdraw from negotiations for new infrastructure which would have brought increased wireless network coverage and capacity to area customers," Kasselman said in an email. "We're hopeful that we'll (be) able to find alternative solutions for the hundreds of supporters that need wireless coverage in the area."

Residents have raised concerns that the 50-foot tower at 1095 Channing Ave. would be a health hazard and lower property values. A couple hundred people voiced their fears at a community meeting in January.

Stephen Stuart, a resident who hooked the city up with Internet access more than a decade ago, even moved to ax the free connection because the proposal -- and the city's tentative approval -- upset him.

Roberta Ward, a spokeswoman for the Diocese of San Jose, which owns the St. Albert the Great property, confirmed Monday that the church had pulled out of the deal. She referred specific questions to the Rev. Matthew Stanley, but said the decision was made late last week. Stanley did not return a call for comment Monday.

Palo Alto Planning Director Curtis Williams said