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Camp Herms Cell Tower Plan Canceled by T-Mobile

A controversial proposal to erect a cell-phone tower at the Boy Scouts' Camp Herms in El Cerrito has been canceled by T-Mobile, the Boy Scouts announced.

A plan to build a cell-phone tower disguised as a tree at the Boy Scouts' Count Herms in the El Cerrito hills has been canceled by T-Mobile, according to the Boys Scouts.

The plan by T-Mobile West Corp. generated strong community opposition last year and coverage in the New York Times.

In the midst of the uproar, the El Cerrito City Council adopted an urgency ordinance on May 17 last year imposing a 45-day moratorium on new cell-phone towers in the city, which was later extended to a full year. On May 2 this year, the Council extended the moratorium for another year.

T-Mobile canceled the contract on May 6, four days after the council vote extending the temporary ban another year, the Journal reported Friday. The Boy Scouts letter was sent this past week, the newspaper said.

The letter from Lynne Leach, president of the Boy Scouts Mt. Diablo Silverado Council, said, "Our Council has been officially informed by T-Mobile West Corporation that it is terminating the September 30, 2009 Camp Herms lease agreement regarding the erecting of a cellphone tower on camp property." (Copy of letter attached.)

An attempt to obtain comment T-Mobile was not successful.

John C. Fenoglio, Scout Executive/CEO for the Mt. Diablo Silverado Council, declined to disclose terms of the lease. The New York Times reported last year that T-Mobile offered to pay the Boy Scouts $2,200 a month for 30 years.

Pam Bennett, an active opponent of the tower and volunteer with Boy Scout Troop 104, said she was "ecstatic" over T-Mobile canceling its lease, the Journal reported.

Though T-Mobile said it will terminate its lease with the Boy Scouts, the company still has a cell-phone tower permit application pending, the newspaper said.

Leach noted in her letter that some neighbors of Camp Herms "pointed out that you realized the cell tower was a financially profitable opportunity for Scouting. ... Some of you were kind enough to offer compensating financial support for our Council if we would not move forward with the cell tower project. We very much appreciate that offer and hope you will now want to financially participate in the wonderful changes and upgrades going on a Camp Herms. To assist you in that regard, we have included a contribution envelope."

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