California Supreme Court denied The Edge’s (real name David Evans) petition to review his case for his $100million Malibu dream complex, shattering his construction plans
U2 guitarist The Edge’s dreams of building an ultra-luxurious, $100million family compound overlooking the Pacific in Malibu have been all but shattered, DailyMailTV can reveal.
The 57-year-old Irish rocker – real name David Evans – has been trying for 14 years to construct five ultra-modern mini-mansions on an idyllic plot he bought, despite the loud protests of outraged environmentalists who say his plan would destroy a pristine, untouched mountainside.
And now, after a long-drawn out – and expensive – court battle that Evans lost on appeal, the California Supreme Court issued its decision denying his petition to review the case.
The court’s refusal even to consider hearing his case effectively torpedoes Evans’ ambitious project, which he calls ‘Leaves in the Wind.’
‘He’s finished – the California Supreme Court was his last resort,’ Dean Wallraff, lawyer for the pro-environment Sierra Club – which sued Evans over his plan – told DailyMailTV.
‘I’m very happy that the Supreme Court decided not to review the case because it brings a definitive end to this terrible project which would have caused devastating damage.’
If Evans – who has refused to take no for an answer during all the years of roadblocks he’s faced in trying to get his houses built – wants to pursue his dream, he could re-apply to Los Angeles County planners for new building permits.
But it would be another, years-long uphill battle.
Evans bought the 151 acres of untouched land at Sweetwater Mesa in 2005 for $9million. The land overlooks Malibu’s pier and borders Malibu Creek State Park (pictured above)
Evans – to no avail – altered the architecture and planning to accommodate environmental groups and agreed that the houses (pictured in this rendering) would be built with ‘earth tone’ materials, they would have non-reflective glass to cut down glinting, and outside light bulbs would be no more than 60 watts to prevent too much brightness at night
This is the view from Evans’ 151-acre property of untouched land which overlooks the Malibu Pier below
Evans’ property is near the scenic Malibu Creek State Park (pictured), which preserves the Malibu Creek Canyon and Santa Monica Mountains
‘He would have to start from scratch, with new applications to LA County Department of Regional Planning for new permits,’ added Wallraff.
‘Then he would have to get approval from the five members of the LA Board of Supervisors – which would be tough since the member who represents Malibu, Shiela Kuehl, is on record opposing Evans’ project.
‘All of that could take another two or three years – with no guarantee that either LA County or the Board of Supervisors would say yes.’
Wallraff’s advice to The Edge: ‘Give it up and move on,’ he said. ‘Sell the land or better still, donate it to the Santa Monica Mountain Conservancy so that the people can enjoy it.
‘Do something good with this beautiful piece of property instead of destroying it. Go somewhere else to build your homes!’
Whether the wealthy Irish musician and songwriter will finally abandon his Malibu project or choose to keep his dream alive, he isn’t saying.
Stan Lamport, the Los Angeles attorney who has represented him through years of court action, didn’t return DailyMailTV’s calls.
But if the U2 star worth an estimated $340million – who alongside lead singer Bono, bass guitarist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen Jr, make up one of the biggest rock bands in the world – refuses to give in and wants to pursue his dream home project, Wallraff and the 640,000 members of the Sierra Club will be ready.
‘We’ll fight him again, all the way to the Supreme Court again,’ declared Wallraff. ‘In reality, I think it would be very hard for him to get new building permits from LA County, or approval from the Board of Supervisors.
‘But in the highly unlikely event that he does, we will fight him in court all the way. We will never give up.’
This rendering shows one of the homes of the rock star’s five-home project called ‘Leaves in the Wind’, which has been 14 years in the making after major pushback by from environmental groups
The Sierra Club sued The Edge over the development and lost, but appealed the verdict and have now stopped the U2 guitarist from building the home pictured in this rendering and four others
When the designs, like this one, for the homes were first made public, local headlines blared: ‘THE EDGE WANTS TO PAVE OVER PARADISE’ and ‘THE EDGE OF DESTRUCTION’
Evans’ hard-fought route to last week’s California Supreme Court refusal to hear his case began back in 2005 when he paid around $9million for 151 acres of wild land at Sweetwater Mesa overlooking Malibu pier a thousand feet below.
The site is a steep bluff covered with sparse scrub, coarse bushes and rock outcrops and inhabited only by rattlesnakes, lizards, deer and the occasional coyote.
Evans and his second wife, LA-born dancer Morleigh Steinberg, fell in love with it because of its spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and because they thought it would make a perfect sanctuary and hideaway where they, along with relatives – like his sister Gillian Delaney – and close friends, could build a family compound away from prying eyes.
Evans has two children with Steinberg – daughter Sian, 21, and son Levi, 19; and three daughters from his first marriage to high-school sweetheart Aislinn O’Sullivan: Hollie, Arran and Blue.
The guitarist hired famed LA architect Wallace Cunningham who, with the input of engineers, geologists and other consultants, came up with designs for five futuristic-looking homes, all with swimming pools, that were supposed to blend in with the natural character of the hillside, hence the name ‘Leaves in the Wind.’
But when the designs – three of which were for houses of more than 12,000 sq ft – became public, all hell broke loose.
‘THE EDGE WANTS TO PAVE OVER PARADISE,’ blared one local headline.
‘THE EDGE OF DESTRUCTION,’ slammed another.
The National Park Service and other watchdog groups say the half-mile-long Sweetwater Mesa Road would need to be extended to access Evans’ compound – which they say would ruin a picturesque Malibu hillside and kill off plant and animal life
Evans had agreed to hand over 140 of his 151 acres of land for public use to appease environmentalists trying to halt construction. He reportedly pledged $1million to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy to build and maintain a public hiking trail
A lawyer for the Sierra Club argued that the ‘ultra-luxurious’ homes would be in plain sight of numerous public viewing areas along the Pacific coast
The project to build on the land pictured above would have set Evans back an estimated $78million in construction costs, including $24million for the access road alone
Environmentalists like the Sierra Club and Heal the Bay joined the National Park Service and other watchdog groups in lining up to lambast the five houses – and the half-mile-long road that would need to be built to access them – saying they would ruin a natural Malibu hillside and kill off plant and animal life there.
With all the furor and letters of protest, when Evans’ plan came up for approval at the June 2011 meeting of the 12-member California Coastal Commission (CCC), it was soundly rejected by a vote of 8-4.
Evans sued the CCC. But he dropped his lawsuit after the CCC told him they would back his project if he reduced the size of the houses and their footprint on the hillside.
At the same time, Evans promised to hand over 140 of his 151 acres for public use and reportedly pledged $1 million to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy to build and maintain a public hiking trail.
He even sent lawyers and lobbyists to California’s State Capital, Sacramento, to try to get planning laws changed.
That move didn’t succeed but it cost a small fortune – his lobbying and past and present legal bills are estimated to be more than $10million.
When Evans brought his revised plans back to the CCC in December 2015, this time they were unanimously approved – because, the five houses were smaller – the biggest was 9,500 sq ft, and the homes were clustered together more closely than before and sited off the ridge, making them less visible from Pacific Coast Highway that runs along the ocean below.
But any triumph Evans felt was short lived.
A month later, the Sierra Club sued, accusing the CCC of violating local planning laws by giving the green light to the rockstar’s plans.
In May 2017, LA Superior Court Judge James Chalfant devastated the Sierra Club by ruling in favor of The Edge and the CCC.
The U2 rocker, pictured at a 2018 concert with lead singer Bono, could re-apply to Los Angeles County planners for new building permits, but it would be another costly years-long battle
Evans and his wife, dancer Morleigh Steinberg (pictured together last year), purchased the land with plans to build a compound where family members, including his sister Gillian Delaney, could live
The judge decided the Commission had complied with local planning laws in approving the project – which would have set Evans back an estimated $78million in construction costs, including $24million for the access road alone.
The Sierra Club wasn’t done though.
Two months later, Wallraff filed an appeal against Judge Chalfant’s ruling.
Fast forward through almost two more years of the appeals process and last March it was the Sierra Club’s turn to win.
California’s Court of Appeal 2nd District upheld the Club’s appeal and threw out the original court’s decision for Evans.
The Appeals judges found the CCC had not complied with local planning laws in approving Evans’ project and that LA County Regional Planning Department has approval power over the project, not the CCC.
Evans only recourse at that point was to go to the California Supreme Court – which this week refused to review his case.
U2 is one of the world’s biggest and best-selling rock groups, having sold an estimated 150-170 million records worldwide.
The band, which formed in 1976 and who have released 14 albums and won 22 Grammy Awards, more than any other band, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005.
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