U2’s the Edge owns 156 acres in the Santa Monica Mountains and plans to build five 10,000 sq ft mansions on his property. “These homes will be some of the most environmentally sensitive ever designed in Malibu — or anywhere in the world,” the guitarist, whose real name is David Evans, said in a prepared statement released to the press. This being America even if it is a post-Kelo America, property rights should trump p***ing off the locals which The Edge’s plan seems to be doing.
“It is going to look nice to the human eye but at what cost?” said surf shop owner and City Councilman Jefferson Wagner. “When is enough enough?”
Surf-dude, enough is enough when you own the property you are whining about – unless you want someone like me to violate your property rights by convincing the council to turn your shop into something truly useful, like a Wawa.
As a property owner myself I support the Edge’s right to do whatever the heck he wants to with that 156 acres. If he wants to clear-cut it and turn it into a parking lot, that it is his right. Ditto with the Surf-dude councilman. If he wants to sell wannabees boards that they aren’t qualified to ride, then that’s his business – not mine.
But one difference between the Edge and me is that I don’t claim to be green. He’s considered by the MSM to be an environmentalist yet I’m considered to belong to a group that would drop-kick the Lorax into a chipper-shredder.
Funny thing is that I’m currently looking at properties with acreage in rural North Carolina with the intent on protecting it from development. In fact the Wife just checked out 75 acres along a river with old growth timber on it. Unfortunately it was also infested with hippies and Rainbow People-types. The owner was charging top dollar for the property but insisted that in any contract he was going to write a clause that allowed him access to a cave on the property anytime he wanted, and that the hippies would be allowed to continue to “gather” on the property.
The Wife laughed heartily at that and then mentioned that the Kid and I planned to set up a shooting range. The owner smiled a bit wanly, evidently imagining me running my very own hippy hunting reserve.
I don’t care about my carbon footprint and evidently The Edge doesn’t care about his either. Supporting each of five 10,000 square foot mansions takes a lot of carbon to build and maintain. I do care about wilderness, preserving what remains and returning land that has fallen out of use by Man to the wild. I look at the blocks of empty lots and vacant buildings that blight the urban landscape, and imagine fencing the area off with razor wire, removing the concrete and asphalt, planting trees and adding a pack of wolves and a herd of deer. But I don’t have the money for my crazy “green” ideas like the Edge does.
Meanwhile I live in a 1,200 square foot home. My Wife and I are adherents of the Not So Big House philosophy which is the anti-thesis of current American housing culture. In place of a large McMansions on postage stamp piece of land our ideal is a small cozy cottage on a large tract of land. We have considered how much house we really needed and decided that the answer was under 2,000 sq. ft.
Does the Edge need 10,000 square feet? That is just under a quarter of an acre, and over 4x the average home size in the USA. According to Wikipedia, Edge has a wife and two children. Does each need the equivalent square footage of the average American house? More importantly does he need to offer such mansions to 4 other families?
The price of the lots alone are $7.5 million, and selling all four would net him $30 million – 3 1/2 times the original cost of the entire 156 acre parcel. The project would require the removal of 70,000 cubic yards of earth and the grading of a road up the steep hillsides.
Edge claims that the properties will be “environmentally sensitive” in terms of blending into the landscape and using state of the art power and water conservation technologies. But reducing the environmental damage caused by building a single 10,000 sq. ft. house doesn’t eliminate the damage such construction causes in the first place, not to mention the ongoing damage caused by the maintenance of such a behemoth.
So what ego requires 10,000 square foot? The Edge’s ego and no doubt his pocket book; it has nothing to do with being green – and that’s hypocrisy in my book.