Wednesday 17 January 2018

California dream put on hold for U2 guitarist

Edge and wife Morleigh already have a four-bedroom
home in Malibu, but their plans for a new home
called 'Leaves in the Wind' have been rejected. Photo: Getty Images
Edge and wife Morleigh already have a four-bedroom home in Malibu, but their plans for a new home called 'Leaves in the Wind' have been rejected. Photo: Getty Images

Paul Melia

U2 guitarist the Edge is considering mounting a legal battle to allow him build an eco-friendly mansion in California.

The move comes after the California Coastal Commission yesterday threw out plans to build a 1,200 sq m house in the Malibu Hills -- described by architects as defying gravity -- because of concerns about its impact on the environment.

And last night a spokeswoman for the guitarist, whose real name is Dave Evans, said he may fight the decision in the courts.

Fiona Hutton told the Irish Independent that litigation was being considered after the commission, the US state's planning body, voted 8-4 against the proposal which was planned on a 156-acre site at Sweetwater Masa in Malibu. Four other homes are planned by other owners on the same site.

"Primarily the issue was the size of the homes and their exact location," she said.


"A lot of the commissioners did recognise that these were environmentally-sensitive homes. They were trying to do the right thing. They'd like to see them shifted to another location.

"We have to figure out where to go. They could litigate, or they could develop new plans with new applications. We're considering the options."

Each home was submitted as a separate application, but there were concerns that they should have been treated as one project. Mr Evans had argued that the five parcels had five distinct owners who were sharing architects, planners, consultants and project managers.

If legal action is taken, one issue could centre on whether the proposal was five distinct projects or one large one, and whether the commission's refusal represented a breach of the owners' property rights.

The rocker first lodged plans for his luxury home along with four others in 2006.

His house was to be called 'Leaves in the Wind', named for the green roof meant to emulate fluttering leaves, and permission was also sought to build four more called 'Blue Clouds', 'Panorama', 'Shell House' and 'Clouds Rest'.

A website explained that the five houses were designed to meet the highest environmental standards by incorporating recycled and renewable materials, rainwater catchment systems, solar panels and native landscaping.

In colourful language, the architects describe the U2 guitarist's planned home as appearing to defy gravity, held aloft by the winds.

"Leaves in the Wind is designed and located to create an attractive appearance that is harmonious with the surrounding landscape and visually compatible with the surrounding areas," it says.

"The undulating components of the roof structure, minimally supported, adopt a free form as they appear to defy gravity, held aloft only by the prevailing wind currents."

The site was bought by five separate owners for €9m, and less than 1pc of the lot -- 1.5 acres -- would be used for the homes.

If permission was granted, 60pc would be given as open space which would allow a nature trail to be constructed.

Four owners gave evidence, but not the Edge. Dean McKillen, son of developer Paddy McKillen, and Tim Delaney gave evidence in person while Chantal O'Sullivan and Tony Kilduff provided video evidence.

The commission's executive director told US media: "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."

Peter Douglas added: "It's a contradiction in terms -- you can't be serious about being an environmentalist and pick this location."

Irish Independent

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