Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

Coastal Commission members on Wednesday postponed a vote on proposal by U2 guitarist the Edge and others to build five mansions in the Malibu mountains.

The commission members may take up the issue, which has drawn the ire of many environmental groups, at their January meeting. The state agency’s staff has recommended approval of the Sweetwater Mesa project, but the commission put off a vote because of a problem with properly notifying some neighbors of the project.

“My understanding is they didn’t notify all the land owners within a certain distance of the whole development,” including the road which would need to be expanded for the homes, according to Katherine Pease of Heal the Bay, which has opposed the project.

Fiona Hutton, a spokeswoman for the project, said a “noticing error” prompted the delay.

Heal the Bay objects to the project because it could lead to “loss of very sensitive habitat,” and it may affect water quality, Pease said.

“We want more clarity in their plan as to the impacts on water quality,” Pease said.

The commission, which will meet again Thursday and Friday in Newport Beach, is expected to take up a proposal protecting various habitats that may be affected by the mansions favored by U2 guitarist David Evans, whose stage name is the Edge.

If the protections are approved, it won’t faze the property owners, Hutton said.

“They’ve been working very hard and collaboratively with (the commission’s) staff for the past two years,” Hutton said. “They went back to the drawing board and did everything Coastal asked of them in terms of redesigning the house and locating the houses to ensure that they complied with what the Coastal Commission requested.”

Four of five property owners involved in the project put aside a lawsuit in favor of a settlement agreement with the commission in September of last year. The fifth property owner was not involved in the litigation.

The new proposal takes the homes off an upper ridgeline in favor of a lower plateau requested by the agency’s staff to preserve coastal views of the Santa Monica Mountains, Hutton said.

Clustering the homes on a lower plateau poses less impact on the sensitive habitat, according to Hutton. The road to the homes was shortened by 67 percent and 138 acres have been dedicated for open space, which is a 42 percent increase from prior proposals, Hutton said.

City News Service

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