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!