By Alex Dobuzinskis
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A plan by U2's lead guitarist, the Edge, and his associates to build several mansions overlooking the Pacific Ocean was denied on Thursday by California officials, who said the project would be a visual blight on a pristine ridgeline.
The California Coastal Commission, which voted 8-4 to reject the controversial 156-acre project, also cited potential damage to native vegetation near the seaside enclave of Malibu.
The Edge, whose real name is David Evans, bought the ridge-top parcel of land for his proposed home in 2005 and has since been fighting to win approval for the development.
A spokeswoman for the Edge said the guitarist and his associates were weighing a potential lawsuit and other options to revive the project.
The Edge had touted the proposed complex of mansions as an environmentally sustainable undertaking that would boast such features as solar energy panels, a rainwater catchment system and on-site electric vehicle charging.
The musician and his associates also said the five homes they were planning to build would collectively occupy just over 1 acre of the 156 acres of private land they had purchased for the development.
Officials with the California Coastal Commission argued the proposal was deceptively presented as five separate developments even though the Edge was the single driving force behind it.
The commission also noted the other principals behind the project were closely tied to the Edge, and included his sister and his business partner.
Environmentalists had opposed the development, saying it would mar views of the ridgeline for over a mile along the coast, a fact cited by commission staff.
Malibu City Councilwoman Laura Rosenthal told Reuters that many of her constituents would agree with the commission's decision.
"Absolutely it's been a big issue, and people have been talking about it and are concerned about it," she said.
Fiona Hutton, a spokeswoman for the Edge, said California officials have approved dozens of other similar projects in the area.
"We'd like to be treated fairly, like any other applicant that comes before the Coastal Commission," she said.
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Steve Gorman)