LOS ANGELES — U2 guitarist the Edge, whose real name is David Evans, and three other Malibu property owners filed separate lawsuits Friday seeking to set aside the California Coastal Commission's denial of their applications to build ridge-top homes above Malibu.
The plaintiffs, who own four adjacent parcels of land zoned for residential development in the unincorporated Sweetwater Mesa area, allege that the coastal panel's June 16 denial represented an unconstitutional taking of property without just compensation. (Another owner withdrew an application for a fifth home at the site just before the panel's vote and did not file suit.)
The action "denied (the owners) any economically viable use of their properties and will establish a sweeping new basis for denying other landowners the ability to use their properties in California," the landowners said in a statement.
Despite the Edge's assertion that the homes would meet the highest environmental standards and would be designed to minimize effects on views and natural resources, the project has sparked intense controversy. Critics say the project would destroy sensitive habitat and pave the way for more development.
Among other contentions, the owners say the commission's staff incorrectly claimed that the properties were under common ownership and therefore had to be considered as a single project. The suits assert that the properties are under separate ownership. Coastal commissioners stated at the June 16 hearing that the Edge had initially talked to them about his dreams for a sustainable, unified development.
(Groves reports for the Los Angeles Times.)