Surfing in the California desert? Developer’s plan sparks outrage over water use, drought
A proposal by a San Diego developer to build a surf-themed condominium project in Malibu has spurred outrage among local residents, who worry it will waste precious water.
Tucked into a wooded area behind a California Community Development Block Grant-funded public park, the residential project by developer D’Mello Development Group would have 1,200 units, according to city planners.
D’Mello, which is based in San Diego, has proposed a similar project in Monterey Canyon, a spot in Malibu that’s also a community park.
In both cases, two surf-themed towers would rise on parcels, which are owned by the city.
The Monterey Canyon project is a scaled-back version, taking up a mere 543 square feet per unit. That footprint — plus a third tower — would dwarf the nearly 1,900 square feet of sand and rock that surround the proposed Malibu project.
In a statement, D’Mello said the Malibu proposal is not a water-waster and that the proposed Malibu project would actually be better for the environment because the project would help preserve open space.
But in his emails to the developer, Mayor Ed Lee asked, “Since you are a big business, and as soon as you build and sell this project you will be making a profit, how come you don’t want to water it?”
At a Jan. 16 City Council meeting, D’Mello told the council that the proposed Malibu project would not need to purchase water to turn a healthy profit given its lower number of units.
“A lot of people don’t realize, we are a water-intensive industry,” D’Mello said in a letter to the city. “For every minute we are in a water-intensive industry, we water the community.”
The Monterey Canyon project is a scaled-back version, taking up a mere 543 square feet per unit. That footprint — plus a third tower — would dwarf the nearly 1,900 square feet of sand and rock that