U2 guitarist The Edge loses 14-year battle to build luxury housing project overlooking 'environmentally sensitive' Malibu coastline
LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl said the project is "inconsistent" with the county's preservation efforts and could set a "negative precedent" for future builders.
U2 guitarist The Edge has ultimately lost his 14-year battle for a project constituting five luxury houses he planned to build overlooking the stunning Malibu coastline.
The Edge, real name David Howell Evans, had made a last-ditch request to California’s top appeals court to reconsider a March ruling that nullified a permit granted to him by the California Coastal Commission in 2015, the New York Daily News reports.
According to the ruling obtained by the paper, the famed guitarist's request for "en banc" review was rejected last Wednesday.
The March decision went in favor of the rocker's adversary - the conservation group Sierra Club, with a panel of appellate judges ruling that the project's appropriate permit authority was the County of Los Angeles, and not the California Coastal Commission.
Now, if The Edge still wants to build his eco-friendly colony dubbed "Leaves in the Wind", he must start the arduous approval process with county officials all over again.
In a conversation with the Daily News on Tuesday, Sierra Club lawyer Dean Wallraff said: "We’re very relieved that the court ordered the permits for this totally inappropriate development be set aside."
Wallraff said "this is the end of the road" for attempts by the musician to break ground with the CCC permits he previously received.
“Now the most obvious avenue to go forward with the project is to apply to the county for the same permits, but a county supervisor has (gone on record) opposing it. They could vote it down. It’s political,” he added.
Meanwhile, County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl said the project is "inconsistent" with the county's preservation efforts and could set a "negative precedent" for future builders.
The Sierra Club described Evans’ project in its court filings as an “ultra-luxurious housing development of five huge residences and five swimming pools placed smack in the middle of hundreds of acres of open space in the Santa Monica Mountains in plain sight of numerous public viewing areas along Pacific Coast Highway.”
According to the conservation group, the development would require a long, "highly engineered" access road that would affect the hillside's natural environment and require “substantial trenching and drilling” along a 7,000-foot water line that would disturb “environmentally sensitive habitat.”
Located on the edge of the Malibu Creek State Park, the parcel is surrounded by land that the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and the National Park Service have deemed as parkland, per court filings.
The 57-year-old rockstar first toured the property, also known as Sweetwater Mesa, with his wife Morleigh Steinberg in 2005.
“We were absolutely blown away by its beauty, and the position of it, and every aspect of its potential,” he recalled, per the LA Times.
The couple went on to purchase the property for $9 million and have since employed a team of environmental experts, lawyers, and lobbyists to push through the plans and get required permits to begin the project.
That said, settlement discussions with Evans' team during prior litigation yielded "no common ground", according to Wallraff.
“As far as we’re concerned, developing the 155 acres is not something we’re willing to go along with. They might have a legal claim to build a house there, but it would be a really outrageously expensive house,” he said. “What we think is appropriate is for them to deed it over to the Conservancy or the National Park Service and get a nice tax deduction."