By a vote of 8 to 4, the California Coastal Commission rejected the applications for four large homes and an access road off Sweetwater Mesa Road above Serra Canyon at its meeting Thursday afternoon in Marina del Rey. David Evans, better known as U2 guitarist The Edge, owns at least one of the properties.
An application for a fifth home was withdrawn by the applicant's attorney just before the commission's vote. Don Schmitz, a planning consultant for all the applicants, then asked if the meeting could be continued so his clients could negotiate with the Coastal Commission staff. The commission rejected the request by an 11-1 vote.
The commissioners who opposed the project said the homes were too large and the developments would cause too much damage to the environment.
"This is really not a good place for humans to have huge developments," said Commissioner Dayna Bochco about what the Coastal Commission staff has called an environmentally sensitive habitat area. "God did not intend for us to have houses on every mountainside."
Those who favored the project said it was a matter of property rights.
"I don't see how in the world you can with good conscience deny these people to build on lots that they have the right to build a house on," Commissioner William Burke said.
Fiona Hutton, a spokeswoman for all the applicants, released a statement shortly after the hearing.
"The property owners worked diligently to develop home designs that would meet some of the highest standards for sustainability, blend seamlessly with the natural landscape and preserve the vast majority of their private lands as open space. They undertook this effort with a deep personal commitment and sense of responsibility to protect environmental resources and develop environmentally superior homes. This commitment was recognized and praised by many of the commissioners during their lengthy and complex deliberations. The property owners remain steadfast in their vision and will be vigorously exploring all potential options.”
Look for more on this story soon.