By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
An authorization document signed by the Edge and submitted to the California Coastal Commission, the body that processes development applications, confirms that he has authorized Schmitz to oversee the massive project. When asked about the trench on the Latigo Canyon site, Schmitz denied it was leveled for purposes of creating a building pad. He says that the excavation to date is “purely for geological purposes.”
In addition to the carving up of portions of the mountain, neighbors say that the Edge’s proposed new homes will destroy their views. “I can presently see a view from my home, called the ‘Queen’s Necklace,’” explains Wilder, “which shows 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.”
For Wilder, the U2 glam factor isn’t an issue, but he does fear that the Edge’s stature could fast-track the development. Wilder’s a professional stuntman, so the prospect of celeb-spotting or party invites doesn’t really faze him. He says that a specific interaction was notable, however. “There was one occasion when his enormous tour bus stopped dead on the road to my house, blocking it. Myself and several other cars had to wait behind it for some time until I became annoyed and approached the window of the bus. I asked the driver to move, though he said I’d have to wait, as he didn’t want to interrupt the Edge and Axl Rose [a fellow Malibu resident], who were in an intense discussion at the back of the bus.”
Another gripe of the residents’ is the eviction by the Edge and his developers of the Malibu Mountain Archery Club, an institution located on the Latigo Canyon site since 1938. Club treasurer Sharon Prey, also a resident, laments its loss, and says that it raised money to benefit local charities. The club was steeped in history, as well. “After Errol Flynn made archery popular in his films,” Prey explains, “it was very fashionable. I’ve got photographs of everyone from Shirley Temple and Bob Hope to James Garner at the old range.” It has also served as an Olympic venue and a set for countless movies. When the Edge bought that land, the club was forced to shutter.
A resident of the Serra Retreat area, Jim Smith has been vocal in his disapproval of the Edge’s development. His key issue is what he sees as the destruction of an entire mountain.
“Two years ago he pulled up outside my house and mentioned he was going to be my new neighbor,” recalls Smith. “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.”
Smith says that in addition to a site for the Edge’s own house, plans call for five more parcels of land to host additional spec homes. Smith claims that, as the mountain is excavated, a man-made slope will span the height of a 20-story building and carve the mountain until it is unrecognizable.
Explains a frustrated Smith: “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.”