On the Edge of Darkness

As most everyone knows by now, the California Coastal Commission bravely voted 8-4 Thursday against the Edge’s proposal for a compound of mansions overlooking the Pacific in Malibu.  The highly controversial project from the U2 guitarist would have caused substantial damage to environmentally sensitive habitat area and did not include plans to reduce polluted runoff or treat and dispose of sewage generated onsite.  Clearly, the developers’ offer of $1 million to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy for trail access and land conservation was not enough to sway the commissionvote.

The Los Angeles Times quoted Peter Douglas, the commission’s iconic director, as saying:  “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. It’s a contradiction in terms — you can’t be serious about being an environmentalist and pick this location” given the effects on habitat, land formation, scenic views and water quality. 

Although we raised concerns about the Edge’s proposed development, I disagree with Douglas’ statement on its scale relative to the projects considered by the commission through history. In fact, I consider it to be the second most environmentally damaging project voted on by the commission Thursday — Malibu Valley Farms is far worse.

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