Posted on June 17, 2011 by spoutingoff
The Coastal Commission's rejection of the Edge's proposal to build mansions in Malibu may have gotten more press, but its failure to revoke the permit for Malibu Valley Farms is actually more compelling.
As many of you already know, the California Coastal Commission bravely voted 8-4 Thursday against the Edge’s proposal for a compound of mansions overlooking the Pacific in Malibu. The highly controversial project from the U2 guitarist would have substantially damaged an environmentally sensitive habitat area (ESHA) and did not include plans to reduce polluted runoff or treat and dispose of sewage generated onsite. Clearly, the developers’ offer of $1 million to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy for trail access and land conservation was not enough to sway the commission vote.
The Los Angeles Times quoted Peter Douglas, the commission’s iconic director, as saying: “In 38 years of this commission’s existence, this is one of the three worst projects that I’ve seen in terms of environmental devastation. It’s a contradiction in terms — you can’t be serious about being an environmentalist and pick this location” given the effects on habitat, land formation, scenic views and water quality.
Although we raised concerns about the Edge’s proposed development, I disagree with Douglas’ statement on its scale relative to the projects considered by the commission through history. In fact, I consider it to be the second most environmentally-damaging project voted on by the commission Thursday — Malibu Valley Farms is far worse.
Filed under: Environmental Governance, Heal the Bay, Water Quality | Tagged: California Coastal Commission, Malibu mansions, Malibu Valley Farms, The Edge | 2 Comments »
Posted on June 15, 2011 by spoutingoff
Malibu Valley Farms' dubiously permitted equestrian facility impacts water quality in the Stokes Canyon Creek area. The permit is up for a revocation vote Thursday.
The media spotlight at the California Coastal Commission hearing Thursday will be on the fate of a complex of mansions proposed by U2 guitarist The Edge on pristine chaparral and coastal sage habitat in the Santa Monica Mountains overlooking the Bay. Although the “Joshua Tree” concert at the Sports Arena in 1987 was one of the best performances I’ve ever attended (I still get chills when I hear the intro to “Where the Streets Have No Name”), Heal the Bay is very critical of the project’s impacts on Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Area, the lack of Low Impact Development (LID) requirements to capture and reuse or infiltrate rainwater on site, and the complete lack of information on wastewater treatment and disposal.
Despite the attention on the Edge’s project, a far more critical Coastal Commission vote will take place on Thursday regarding Malibu Valley Farms. In this case, the project applicant had the nerve to build a horse ranch in and directly adjacent to Stokes Canyon Creek, a tributary to Malibu Creek, which drains to the highly polluted and popular Malibu Lagoon and Surfrider Beach.
The developer built the ranch in this environmentally sensitive riparian area, with concrete and dirt crossings in the creek (instead of much more environmentally friendly bridges) without permission from the Coastal Commission, and then had the gall to ask for an after-the-fact permit. What did the Commission do in response to this illegal development? Did members bring down the hammer of enforcement? Absolutely not!
Filed under: Environmental Governance, Malibu | Tagged: California Coastal Commission, Malibu Valley Farms, The Edge | Leave a Comment »
Posted on October 13, 2010 by spoutingoff
The Coastal Commission voted 11-0 to support Lagoon plan.
The California Coastal Commission voted unanimously Wednesday to support the State Parks and Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission plan to restore Malibu Lagoon. The 11-0 vote provided the last needed permit approval before the rehabilitation of the brackish wetland can proceed next summer. The restoration will increase salt marsh acreage by four acres and will provide long-needed water circulation to the often stagnant marsh, but there was still vocal opposition against the project. The challengers even brought in a high-priced attorney and an East Coast wetland restoration consultant to bolster their case, which argued against the use of heavy machinery to repair the wetland.
Despite these efforts, the recommendations of the Bay Commission, Coastal Conservancy and State Parks prevailed. Heal the Bay helped put together the plan back in 2004. Key testimony from renowned UCLA coastal ecologist Rich Ambrose and wetland nutrient scientist Marth Sutula was very persuasive.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, state Fish and Game, the National Marine Fisheries Service, and the Regional Water Board all had previously signed off on the project. Environmental group support from Santa Monica Baykeeper, the local Audubon, Surfrider and Sierra Club chapters, Malibu Surfing Assn. and Friends of Ballona didn’t hurt either.
Evidently, successful wetland restorations at Bolsa Chica, Carpinteria and San Diego County that used earth moving equipment helped sway the commission that the Malibu plan is prudent.
Filed under: Environmental Conservation, Heal the Bay, Malibu, Malibu Lagoon, Water Quality | Tagged: California Coastal Commission, Malibu Lagoon, Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission, wetlands | 7 Comments »