Coastal Commission Postpones The Edge Development Hearing

U2's The Edge

The California Coastal Commission voted to postpone its vote on U2 rocker The Edge’s multi-mansion project during its meeting in Newport Beach this week.

At its Wednesday meeting, the CCC went into closed session, during which time it voted to continue the Malibu-area project, most likely to January 2015.

According to the decision, it was a failure to notify stakeholders of the agenda item within an adequate timeframe that forced commissioners to push back the hearing.

This complaint was voiced by several groups who stand in opposition to the development, including Mary Wiesbrock of the nonprofit Save Open Space (SOS).

“Staff never informed us of a pending hearing. SOS now has only around two weeks to read, analyze and comment on the 500 page staff report,” Wiesbrock wrote in an email to The Malibu Times in September, “We believe this would be in violation of our due process, CEQA and California Coastal laws.”

The Edge’s legal name is David Evans. Since first proposing the five-mansion project in the Sweetwater Mesa area above Serra Canyon in 2007 and 2008, Evans’ multiple holdings groups have scuffled with the CCC over plans to build in an environmentally sensitive habitat in the Santa Monica Mountains.

There is buzz that the applicants were hoping to have their item heard before a new Santa Monica Mountains Local Coastal Program (LCP) goes into effect Friday. The LCP will present new guidelines for development.

“Because the SMM LCP will take effect this Friday, the hearing continuance (to January for now) is a huge game changer. The applicants were pushing for approval before the LCP would take effect,” said Frank Angel, legal counsel to the Sweetwater Mesa Homeowners Association, in an email to The Malibu Times.

When the item was added to the CCC’s agenda on Sept. 19, staff recommended the commission approve the application, a 180-degree shift in opinion since the last time the item came to vote.

The reason staff changed their recommendation, said Coastal Commission Deputy Director Jack Ainsworth, was a dramatic reworking of development plans.

According to numbers provided by Ainsworth, the access road was planned to be more than 6,000 feet long, but in the new proposal it will measure about 2,000 feet, and the houses will take up 4.3 acres, rather than the original 9.2 proposed acres.

“There are really significant changes from before,” Ainsworth said.