U2 Guitarist Pushing Neighbors Over The Edge

Bob Dylan isn’t the only rock star Malibu, Calif., resident drawing criticism from neighbors. While The Edge may not have a stinky porta-potty on his property, the U2 guitarist’s neighbors have accused him of endangering wildlife, potentially upsetting the ecosystem and creating an eyesore of McMansions that would obstruct existing views.

The Edge owns nearly 1,000 acres on two sites in Malibu, one area bordered by the Latigo Canyon and the other at Serra Retreat. He bought the properties in November 2006 and since then has been racking up complaints over the development, according to LAWeekly.com.

Photo: Chris McKay
"If things sound too regular or normal or predictable we just can’t operate as a band."

Jim Smith, a building contractor who lives on the Serra Retreat area and says he has looked at The Edge’s development plans, claims that in addition to a site for The Edge’s house, the guitarist also plans to build homes on five more parcels of land.

Smith says The Edge’s development will destroy an existing mountain on the property, carving into it and leaving behind a man-made slope that will span the height of a 20-story building. He says the mountain will be unrecognizable and that 5,000 truckloads of earth will be removed from the site.

“Two years ago he pulled up outside my house and mentioned he was going to be my new neighbor,” Smith told LAWeekly.com. “He was friendly and charismatic. I was happy knowing he was buying the land, as I assumed he would be sensitive to the environment — though that’s not the case. … When I expressed my concerns about the development, he told me he was sympathetic to my concerns, though he’s done nothing. He’s not walking the walk of an environmentalist.”

Another Malibu resident, Candace Brown, says The Edge’s development project is ostentatious and will create an eyesore of “McMansions.” She says the project will upset the ecosystem – and that it has already endangered wildlife.

Brown says The Edge and his project partners dug a 15-foot trench “the size of three football fields” and that, according to eyewitnesses, deer and fox were trapped in the trench.

Resident Scott Wilder told LAWeekly.com he believes the trench was dug and then filled in to create a building pad. He said that prior to the trench, the land formed a ridge line that was an unfit building surface.

Malibu developer Don Schmitz of Don Schmitz and Associates, who was hired by The Edge to oversee the development, said the trench wasn’t leveled to create a building pad but that the excavation is “purely for geological purposes.”

Wilder is worried The Edge’s development will block the views from his home, which spans areas of L.A. from Santa Monica to LAX.

“The development will directly impede residents’ existing views and impact the scenic drive through Latigo Canyon for the general public,” Wilder said.

Even before the U2 guitarist started working on the construction project, residents had a bone to pick with The Edge over Malibu’s former archery club.

“They evicted the archery club, which was an institution in Malibu,” Brown said. LaWeekly.com noted that the Malibu Mountain Archery Club was forced to close after The Edge bought the land, as the club was located on the Latigo Canyon site. The club was located on the site since 1938 and had served as an Olympic venue and a movie set.

The Edge also owns a $5 million loft in NYC’s Tribeca neighborhood, a villa on the French Riviera and a house in South Dublin County, Ireland.

Read the LAWeekly.com article here.