David Evans, the popular guitarist for U2 — who is known by his nickname “The Edge” — is coming under fire from Malibu residents for his plans to develop a property overlooking the community.
The site calls for five mountaintop mansions with extensive ocean views and built above homes belonging to the likes of Dick Van Dyke, Kelsey Grammer and James Cameron. In order for the development to work, some tricky engineering, including extension of a road down a rugged elevation, grading 70,000 cubic yards of hillside, and installing water lines would be needed.
Needless to say, residents aren’t thrilled — but Evans contends that these homes will be created to work with the environment. “My family and I love Malibu, having maintained a residence here for more than a decade,” he told the Times. “These homes will be some of the most environmentally sensitive ever designed in Malibu—or anywhere in the world. I’m disappointed that certain critics either don’t have the facts or have ulterior motives.”
Making them “green”, however, doesn’t mean that they should be built. “The downside of this is a permanently scarred mountainside for the benefit of a very few that for many years all will view,” Jefferson Wagner, a Malibu councilman, told the newspaper. “For somebody so revered even to be orchestrating this type of development in such a sensitive area is hypocritical.”
In my opinion, with regards to development, Malibu has some tricky ground to cover in defending the environment for this particular project. I have family that live there and have spent much time traversing the canyons and hills around the area. There are homes everywhere up there — and I’m not particularly sure why Evans’ development is any different from the others. There’s definitely a real case for NIMBY outcry here shielded behind environmental concern. That being said, five mansions on a hilltop — with three being built on speculation alone — is rather ridiculous; no matter how green they are. I would love to see Malibu take a stand here — but as the Times quoted one official as saying, “we’ve got to allow for some residential use to avoid a constitutional taking of property.” Perhaps some kind of compromise can be reached.