Hours before a scheduled Jan. 17 hearing before a West Los Angeles zoning administrator, AT&T representatives abruptly dropped a controversial plan to erect cellular phone antennas on top of an apartment building near Venice Beach.

Reliant Land Services Inc., an Orange County-based cell phone equipment installation firm, had been eyeing the rooftop of a nearly century-old former hotel at 101 Dudley Ave., near the corner of Pacific Avenue, on behalf of the wireless carrier.

The cell phone carrier claims more antennas are needed in the area to accommodate increasing use of high-end wireless Internet.

“AT&T is committed to upgrading our 4G LTE wireless network in the Venice area. After working closely with the community, we determined that the Dudley Avenue site is not an ideal location at this time,” AT&T spokesman Jaime Moore said Wednesday.

Venice residents who spoke up about the plan had all but unanimously opposed the rooftop cell towers as a blight infringing on a residential neighborhood.

Joanne Faust, who has lived in the area for four decades, said she and her neighbors had raised some $6,000 to fight the planned antennas.

“I could not be happier that it is over for good. No more presentations, appeals. It has been a long year and an expensive one for the neighborhood,” Faust said.

“To put 12 antennas on a building where there are 29 apartments with people living in there 24 hours, seven days a week just was not the right place to put a cell tower,” she said.

Following a campaign by Faust and other concerned residents, the Venice Neighborhood Council on Nov. 19 voted to oppose antenna installation by a vote of 14-0.

“I generally believe that cell towers should be located on non-residential properties … [and] I agreed with the concerns of residents regarding a lack of parking for maintenance of the tower and services to support it,” Venice Neighborhood Council Land Use and Planning Committee Chair Jake Kaufman said after that meeting.

Moore said his company will be considering other sites.

“AT&T engineers and staff will continue to explore alternative options and work through the city approval process to develop the best plan of action,” Moore said.

“I am sure that AT&T will find another place — hopefully in an industrial or commercial area,” Faust said.

— Gary Walker