Environmentalists Are No Fans of This U2 Member’s Malibu Plans

On a pristine Malibu hilltop overlooking the Pacific Ocean, U2 guitarist The Edge (real name: David Evans) and a few other developers plan to build a compound that includes five 10,000-square-foot mansions — the maximum size allowed in designated environmentally-sensitive habitats.

People who care about the environment are not at all happy about this project.

In fact, the Sierra Club’s Angeles Chapter has sued the California Coastal Commission, asking it to set aside its unanimous approval in December of the huge Sweetwater Mesa project. It wants the developers to be ordered to stop the project until the commission complies with the state environmental protection laws it violated in approving the project.

“The Chapter has sued to stop the Sweetwater Mesa project in the mountains above Malibu, which would forever change the face of the surrounding 28,000 acres of native chaparral habitat,” the Angeles Chapter stated on its website. “The plan to build a complex of houses will permanently destroy this rare habitat, and there’s no way to mitigate its effect. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.”

According to the Sierra Club’s lawsuit, the California Coastal Commission did not assess the impact of The Edge’s planned compound on issues like habitat disruption, air quality and greenhouse gas emissions, as required under the California Environmental Quality Act.

The commission also violated the California Coastal Act, which requires the public to have a say in decisions affecting development along the coast.

Nor did the commission, as required by law, consider any alternatives to The Edge’s plans, such as building only one enormous mansion on the property instead of five — or better yet, leaving the property alone as protected open space.

The reason for all these blatant environmental law violations by the California Coastal Commission? “The threat posed by the applicant lawsuits,” according the Sierra Club.

In 2011, The Edge and his fellow developers sued the California Coastal Commission after their original application for the compound was rejected.

“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,” Peter Douglas, the commission’s director at the time, told the Los Angeles Times. Douglas, who died in 2012, was a “seminal figure in conservation,” according to his obituary.

“It’s a contradiction in terms,” Douglas said. “You can’t be serious about being an environmentalist and pick this location.”

In their lawsuit, the Edge and his cohorts said the commission’s decision was an unconstitutional taking of property without compensation.

The lawsuit was settled a couple of years later. The commission, with Douglas no longer at its helm, approved the developers’ revised plan, in which the mansions would be closer to each other and a farther distance from the ridge, so they would be less visible from below.

“These homes will be some of the most environmentally sensitive ever designed in Malibu — or anywhere in the world,” The Edge told the Associated Press in a prepared statement back in 2009. He has refused to be interviewed about the compound.

“I’ve got to call bovine scat on that,” Mark Abramson, who was then the director of watershed programs with the nonprofit Santa Monica Baykeeper, told the AP in response to The Edge’s claim.

Also not exactly environmentally sensitive is The Edge’s plan to have a private road built up a mountain that would give him access to his personal McMansion.

“They’re claiming it’s a green environmental project, but you’d have to live in the houses a thousand years [to make up for the carbon dioxide emitted by the trucks hauling out the dirt],” Lawrence Weisdorn, president of the local Serra Retreat Homeowners Association, told the AP in 2009.

The Edge and the other developers had threatened to sue again if the California Coastal Commission rejected the Sweetwater Mesa plans two months ago. The commission caved and approved the project. Not only did it make the wrong decision, but now it’s facing another lawsuit  – something it had wanted to avoid at apparently any cost to the environment.

While The Edge isn’t named in the Sierra Club’s lawsuit, it’s ironic that a member of U2, a band famous for its social consciousness, obviously doesn’t care about destroying natural habitat, despite his unconvincing insistence the project is “environmentally sensitive.”

Photo credit: Danny Hammontree / Flickr

85 comments

Pascal Poitras
Maryline Félix6 months ago

idols know nothing else as they are born with toys in their hands...

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Crystal G.
Crystal G2 years ago

Pathetic

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Muff-Anne York-Haley

Wrong!

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Melania Padilla
Melania Padilla2 years ago

What a moron, hypocrite!

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chris b.
chris B2 years ago

Maria L - about people's land and what they want to do with their money. We have seen people here (Phoenix) thrown out on the street because 'someone' wanted to build a sports stadium. Yes, they got to build it even though we all voted against it. People cannot do what they want with their property. Not unless they have a shit load of money. That my dear is the only difference. $

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chris b.
chris B2 years ago

Are they Americans? I thought U2 was Irish. Tell them to go build it in their own country. Leave our CA habitat alone. Where's the petition?? This is outrageous. Yes, practice what you preach here. So who needs that big of a, excuse me 'compound'. Compound - what are they going to do there? Why so huge. Do any of you live in a place that big? Or build on environmentally sensitive habitats? in another country? yes, shame on you. No one here is going to like you. I guess it's once again about money. booooo

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Veronica B.
Veronica B2 years ago

The edge Big shame on you!!! Where is you preached ?

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Mike Wright
Mike Wright2 years ago

Are U2 the world's biggest hypocrites ever? Tax-dodging billionaires with massive personal carbon footprints.

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Jennifer H.
Jennifer H2 years ago

It all seems like the rich man's hypocritical greed to me. I hope more suits are filed and if he wins and builds, I hope it all falls down in the inevitable slides that will happen. If common sense doesn't tell him not to build, the coastal commission darn well should - and has every right.

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