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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

CCC Staff Says No to The Edge’s Controversial Mega-Manse Plan

• Development Is Too Dense and Big for Wilderness Area

BY BILL KOENEKER


A controversial residential subdivision planned for the hills high above Sweetwater Mesa being shepherded by the rock guitarist David Evans, whose stage name is The Edge, along with other investors, has been given the thumbs down by the CCC staff.
The matter is scheduled to go before the Coastal Commission on Feb. 10 when the coastal panel meets in Chula Vista.
Each of the applications for the proposed mansions-some of them planned for over 12,000 square feet in size are now purportedly “owned” by different entities.
However, CCC planners say they are treating the project as one application, but it would be up to the commission how they want to hear it.
The CCC staff report indicated that the biologist used by the coastal agency has confirmed “with the exception of a three-acre non-native grassland mesa located on the Mulryan and Lunch properties and the 10-foot wide jeep trail leading up to it, the entire 156 acres that make up the subject property is comprised of relatively pristine native chaparral, sage scrub and oak woodland habitat areas.”
The commission staff also noticed that in the few short years the application has been wending its way through the approval process, there has been additional roads built and brush cutting in various parts of the acreage.
The report notes the matter should be treated as unpermitted development and must be dealt with subsequent to the upcoming commission hearing.
The CCC report goes on to state that the proposed projects are situated within a largely undisturbed block of wilderness of about 2800 acres in size.
“The area has no paved roads and a minimum amount of dirt roads and about half of the vacant land is public parkland,” the report states.
The applicants, to the contrary, have always maintained that much of the vacant land, including the mesa area has been disturbed since the 1920s when it was likely used for grazing cattle.
However, the coastal agency staff asserts that there is no evidence of that and almost all of the acreage can be classified as Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Area.
The CCC staff maintains that the planned construction of the properties and removal of fire hazards around those proposed buildings will require the “complete removal of ESHA.”
Though the commission staff praised the developers “for making great strides to reduce the visual impact of the residences, consolidating each development, it will still result in significant impacts to visual resources.”
The staff report goes on to state, “The proposed development is not consistent with Section 30251 or guidance policies of the Malibu Santa Monica Mountains Land Use Plan which require protection of public views, minimization of landform alteration and compatibility with the surrounding area.
“The proposed density and large size and scale of the proposed development, coupled with the geologic topographic and fire hazard constraints that exist within the undeveloped area, necessitate the construction of significant facilities, including a road and driveway of 6010 feet in length and several fire truck staging areas. It is significantly out of conformity with the Coastal Act.”
Each of the applications for the proposed mansions are “owned” by different entities.
For instance, the application of Lunch Properties LLLP is to construct a 22-foot high, three level, 12,004-square-foot single-family home with 629 square feet of storage space, an attached 2128 square-foot garage, and swimming pool, requiring 4800 cubic yards of grading.
The proposed project includes the access road to connect Sweetwater Mesa Road in the City of Malibu to the subject property involving 10,750 cubic yards grading, retaining walls and an entry gate.
There are two fire department staging areas totaling almost 10,000 square feet, requiring 700-cubic yards of grading.
The Vera Properties LLLP application consists of a proposal to build a 22-foot high, two-level 12,785 square foot single-family home with 2116 square feet of storage space, 1694-square-foot detached garage, swimming pool and 1595 square feet of terraces requiring 10,700 cubic yards of grading including a 7800 extension of an eight-inch diameter water line down to the property and to the other four houses from an existing water line in the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District beneath Costa Del Sol Way near the top of the mountain north of the properties.
The Mulryan Properties LLLP request seeks to construct a 28-foot-high, two level, 7220 square-foot home with a 1398 square foot attached garage, 3709 square feet of terraces, swimming pool, access drive with two hammerhead turnarounds and 5950 cubic yards of grading.
The proposal also includes a 20,000-square-foot fire department staging area involving another 9400 cubic yards of grading and placement of 13,950 cubic yards of excess excavated material generated from development of related applications upon the 1.88-acre area.
The Morleigh Properties LLLP of a 28-foot high, three level, 8348-square-foot single family home with a 753 square foot attached garage, swimming pool, two hammerhead turnarounds, and 18,050 cubic yards of grading.
The application of the Ronan Properties LLLP consists of building a 28-foot-high, three-level, 12,143-square-foot home, with 2232 square feet of storage space, 3161 square feet of terraces, a 1762-square-foot detached garage, swimming pool and 16,000 cubic yards of grading.

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