Destruction in the wind
The Edge project (from the band U2) high above the Malibu pier that will destroy a large swath of of virgin mountain and ridge

URGENT: Coastal Commission hearing on Edge Sweetwater Mesa Project - Thursday, June 16, 9AM

Please attend in person and speak out against this project


View of the "Edge" ridgeline from Pacific Coast Highway and Web Way - click on photo for detailed view
Overview of the 5 proposed homes - Access road in yellow - click on photo for detailed view
Rendering of a small portion of the access road - click on photo for detailed view
Parts of the Edge road will look similar to this freeway - click on photo for detailed view
Rendering provided by The National Park Service showing all homes on a major ridgeline - click on photo for detailed view
Photo taken 6/11/2011 - Malibu Canyon just north of Hughes Labs. Example of mountainside road construction. This is a tiny example of what is likely to occur if this project moves forward. The Edge road requires much bigger cuts above the road and construction of an elevated concrete road.

Developer David Evans (also known as The Edge from the band U2) and his team are trying to build a massive project in the virgin mountains high above the Malibu Pier. This project involves the construction of 5 large homes ranging in size from 7,220 to 12,785 square feet. The terrain is very mountainous and in the middle of a well known slide area. This project would require the construction of a 6010 ft long road,95,050 cubic yards of grading, 123 caisson piles each up to 79 ft deep and up to 5 ft in diameter, 960 linear feet of retaining walls; a new 7,800 foot long waterline with a 900 ft long 10 ft wide access road.

Access Road

If this project is approved by the California Coastal Commission and all the other government agencies the access to these properties will require a MASSIVE development. This road will be 6010 feet long and will consist of at least 123 cassions - each caisson will be up to 5 feet in diameter and up to 80 feet deep. This road will likely cost millions of dollars and take many months, if not years, to build.

Parts of this road will look like a concrete freeway elevator up to 16 feet above the natural grade. More than 40,000 cubic yards of dirt will need to excavated - much of it a landslide area. 


These homes, if built, will destroy parts of the 3,000 foot ridgeline even though the LA County code and Coastal Commission code require that the homes be set back from the ridgeline. These homes and road will be highly visible from Pacific Coast Highway, Carbon Canyon and Bluffs Park.


This project will entail grading 95,050 cubic yards of pristine mountain (46,350 cu. yards of cut and 48,700 cu. yards of fill). A 14 ton truck holds about 10 cubic yards of dirt so the grading on this project will entail the equivalent of about 9,500 truckloads of dirt!

Ridgeline Development

The ridgeline where Edge would like to devlop these houses is a prominent landscape feature along a significant stretch of the Malibu coast. The ridge is visible from several significant public vantages along Pacific Coast Highway, including: Malibu Bluffs Park (2.5 miles west); Pacific Coast Highway and Malibu’s Civic Center and Colony Plaza areas (2 miles west); Malibu Lagoon State Park and Surfrider Beach areas (1.2 miles southwest); and Malibu Pier (1 mile southwest). The ridge is also highly visible from Malibu Creek State Park land, portions of Malibu Canyon Road, and the Saddle Peak Trail about a quarter mile to the west, portions of Piuma Road approximately a mile to the north, and several LUP-mapped Vista Points along Rambla Pacifico Road a mile to the east. (text from Coastal Commision Staff Report - click the link for the full report - Edge Staff Report )   

Unity of ownership

Coastal Commission staff has clearly established that at least three of these properties are owned by one entity, Edge and that this project must be treated as a single large development rather than as 5 separate projects. When treated as one large development, Coastal can require a reduction of the scope of development and clustering of the development areas to limit the habitat destruction.

Objection from Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy

In November  2009 Ronald Schafer, Chairman of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (SMCC) wrote a 5 page scathing letter opposing the Edge project. Click the link for the full report - SMMC Edge letter

Objections from The National Park Service

The National Park Service has raised numerous objections to this project in a detailed letter written in January, 2011 to  the Coastal Commission (click link for complete letter - starts on page 12)

Extract from the National Parks letter

"We are concerned that the project would incur significant adverse impacts tot he biological and visual resources of the national recreation area owing to habitat fragmentation, edge effect of residential development against open space, visual degradation from ridgeline development, and placing development in an area of frequent wildland fires. The project, as proposed, conflicts with our resource protection and recreational access goals. The project's growth inducing potential also needs to be examined. We believe the intenisty of this project - in terms of the amount of new construction, location relative to surrounding habitat and topography, scale of grading, and significance of infrastructural improvements - isunprecedented for single family residential development in the Santa Monica Mountains".

At least seven radio collared mountain lions have been tracked to within 500 meters of the five proposed residences, one was recorded visiting there on Jan 18th, 2011. The presence of these lions, bobcats and coyote confirm that the proposed project site is high quality core habitat that, if developed, would significant impact this wilderness area.

The ridgeline is currently in a mostly undeveloped and natural condition. The proposed residences would be visible from several viewing locations throughout the park and would remove forever unobstructed views up to, across, and over this ridgeline. The proposed large retaining walls, the elevated viaduct section (up to 24 feet high on the downslope side, and the cut and fill slopes necessary to access just five residences would greatly exacerbate the significant visual degradation.

The project would be visible from Pacific Coast Highway from Pepperdine University (at John Tyler Drive) to Malibu Pier, a stretch of approximately two miles. The project is also clearly visible from Malibu Canyon Road.

Objections from Heal The Bay

Heal the Bay submitted a letter the Coastal Commission on February 7, 2011 in opposition to this project and in support of the staff recommendation to deny the applications. See Exhibit 9 (page 55 of the PDF) 

Objections from The Sierra Club

The Sierra Club submitted a letter the Coastal Commission on February 7, 2011 in opposition to this project and in support of the staff recommendation to deny the applications. See Exhibit 10  (page 61 of the PDF)

Other Edge Property Developments

Residential development - apartment buildings in Dublin. The Edge/U2 development vehicle is their pension fund, Princus Investment Trust.

Partners with the Irish developer, Derek Quinlan. He is also a partner with another Irish developer, Paddy Quinlan, in the Clarence Hotel in Dublin, Ireland where they planned to demolish a 140 year old hotel and replace it with a a much larger hotel at a cost of 150 million Euros. This project has had strong resistance from many people who want to protect the historic buidlings that will be destroyed by the construction of this new hotel.

Another Edge development project -Landmark Tower (also known as Britain Tower) and U2 Tower in Dublin, Ireland - 180 feet tall. This project is apparently temporarily on hold due to the recession.

In 2007 The Edge purchased a property for $20 million in Latigo Canyon in Malibu and then tried to get permits to build a large subdivision. Edge evicted the Archery Club that had been there for about 30 years in anticipation of developing this land. Many neighbors protested this proposed subdivision and development. The property is apparently for sale at this time.

U2's Tangled Financial Web
Apparently U2 and Edge go to great lengths to minimize or avoid paying taxes and appear to shelter their holdings in a myriad of companies.