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U2 guitarist Edge’s development plan rejected by CA Coastal Commission

Today, the California Coastal Commission rejected, by a vote of 8 to 4,  a proposal by U2 guitarist, Edge (David Evans), to build five mansions on a ridgeline above Malibu that is home to native chaparral and mountain lions. The executive director of the Commission, Peter Douglas, said, “”In 38 years of this commission’s existence, this is one of the three worst projects that I’ve seen in terms of environmental devastation.”  Douglas said that he expects the matter to end up in court.

Back on April 28, I wrote that: “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 California Coastal Commission is a state agency that regulates development along the California coastline. Commission staff had twice previously recommended that the project be rejected, saying that the development would scar a scenic hilltop that is visible from much of the Malibu coast and disturb sensitive habitat. Members were also concerned that the 156-acre development could lead to other housing projects throughout the Santa Monica Mountains.

Since 2006, :-) Evans has been trying to get permission to build his own home and four others in the Sweetwater Mesa area and hired prominent lobbyists and promoted the development as environmentally friendly. Evans’ house is planned to be a 12,785-square-foot contemporary dwelling called “Leaves in the Wind” for the undulating green roof designed to emulate fluttering leaves. A Web site explains that the five houses are designed to meet the highest environmental standards and utilize recycled and renewable materials, solar panels, native landscaping, and rainwater catchment systems.

Spokesperson Fiona Hutton said that Evans and the other property owners would be exploring their options and that a lawsuit was “a strong option.” :-)

Commission staffers have said that Evan’s plan describes a unified development, whereas Evans’ team has argued that the five parcels have five distinct owners who were sharing architects, planners, consultants and project managers. The owners were identified, in documents submitted to the Commission,  as Evans’ family, friends and business associates, including Evans’ younger sister, Gillian. Formerly, the Edger’s wife, Morleigh Steinberg, and the project manager also have been listed as principal owners.

Evans was not present at the meeting in Marina del Rey, although U2 is scheduled to perform tomorrow night at Angel Stadium in Anaheim.

-Bill at

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