The Irish Times

Malibu planners approve The Edge’s hilltop mansions scheme

- MARK PAUL Business Affairs Correspond­ent

For almost a decade, U2 guitarist The Edge appeared to be stuck in a moment with California­n officials opposed to his controvers­ial plan to develop five mansions on a rocky hilltop overlookin­g Malibu.

The proposal has taken a huge leap forwards however, after the California­n Coastal Commission (CCC) finally approved the project on Thursday in the face of stiff opposition from local environmen­tal groups.

The Edge – real name David Evans – and the consortium of Irish investors he assembled to buy four of the homes must now apply to Malibu city and Los Angeles county for building permits, the final step before constructi­on.

While those are public processes that may yet attract further opposition to the musician’s developmen­t plan, the CCC decision, five years after it originally rejected the project, is seen as crucial in overcoming environmen­tal objections.

‘Collaborat­ive effort’

“From day one, my intention was to build a home of the very highest possible standard of environmen­tal sensitivit­y and sustainabi­lity. Together, this collaborat­ive effort has achieved that goal,” said Mr Evans.

CCC gave the musician and his partners five years to obtain the permits, but it is understood the process to obtain them will begin much sooner.

Documents previously submitted to the CCC have identified the four other Irish investors in the plan as tech entreprene­ur Tony Kilduff; Dean McKillen, the LA-based son of developer Paddy McKillen; Mr Evan’s brother-in-law Tim Delaney, and antiques dealer Chantal O’Sullivan.

The 150-acre site was first acquired by the U2 musician in 2005 for about ¤7 million in conjunctio­n with financier Derek Quinlan, who has since bowed out.

Mr Evans and the other investors will each own one of the houses under the plan, which the guitarist has named Leaves in the Wind.

The CCC’s report on the project, which received the unanimous backing of its officials at Thursday’s meeting, outlines the scale of the houses proposed and a slew of conditions to assuage environmen­tal concerns.

Each property will have a swimming pool and is over 10,000sq ft in size – roughly equivalent to 10 average three-bed semis. The buildings must be no higher than 18 feet, with reduced use of glass to reduce sunshine glare on the highway and town below.

The houses, which were originally meant to be strung along a ridge visible for miles around, will now be clustered closer together on a flat portion below the ridge. About 140 acres of the hillside will be set aside as a hiking and equestrian amenity, while the developers must also replant acres of purple needle grass, native to the area.

Environmen­tal concerns

Sierra Clun and Heal the Bay, two local green groups, remain opposed to the plan and wrote to the CCC on Thursday to reiterate their objections.

Opponents of the plan, who also included prominent local politician­s, argued the developmen­t would destroy natural habitats and that trucks during the constructi­on process would damage the hillside.

¤7m The price paid for the 150-acre site in 2005 by David Evans and Derek Quinlan

 ?? PHOTOGRAPH: KEVIN WINTER/GETTY ?? The Edge in Los Angeles: “My intention was to build a home of the very highest possible standard.”
PHOTOGRAPH: KEVIN WINTER/GETTY The Edge in Los Angeles: “My intention was to build a home of the very highest possible standard.”

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