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CA state planning agency drops opposition to U2 guitarist project

Money makes the world go around, that clinking, clanking sound.Caberet, “Money, Money”

The state planning agency that oversees open space in the Santa Monica Mountains will drop its opposition to a bid by U2 guitarist, The Edge (David Evans), to build a compound of homes above Malibu. The deal (document) was struck in exchange for over $1 million in funding, consulting services, and trail easements by the musician. The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy agreed to take a neutral position with regard to the project in exchange for a $750,000 payment, $250,000 in work by a consultant who works for the musician, conservation easements and development restrictions around homes that would allow a short length of trail to be built through a small portion of the property.

The Edge (David Evans) has been fighting to build five mansions, including his own, on Sweetwater Mesa since 2006. :-) The project has received opposition from conservation groups and the California Coastal Commission. The opposing forces say that the development would scar an undeveloped ridgeline that can be seen from the Malibu coastline and disturb geological features and sensitive habitat. Back in 2009, the conservancy wrote a letter saying that the development was inconsistent with the state Coastal Act and that it would be impossible to build without “unavoidable significant adverse visual and ecological impacts.”

In the agreement that was approved by a 3-2 vote on Monday by its board, the conservancy does not have to rescind its 2009 letter, but could not speak out against the project moving forward.

The agency will not receive its money and other benefits UNLESS the project gets final approval and survives any appeals or legal challenges. The conservancy ALSO must pass a resolution and speak in favor to the deal and must not oppose the development of three other homes on nearby Carbon Mesa. Some supporters of the deal do not think that the change in position of the conservancy would necessarily influence the coastal commission. If the homes are approved, the area would gain open space and have key segments of the long-desired (by some! :-) ) Coastal Slope Trail.

-Bill at

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