Surfing in the California desert? Developer’s plan sparks outrage over water use, drought
By Susan Davis
The U-turn took place just blocks from where California drought victim and surf-loving, environmentally friendly couple Gary and Cheryl Lutter grew up.
The couple built a $5 million home in the backyard of the property where they live, and had a 2-story addition built in 1997.
In a new application submitted to the City of Malibu, the Lutters have changed their story. They now say they only used water during heavy rains. “We don’t remember any such rain ever washing into our house,” the Lutters wrote to the City.
Gary Lutter, a father of two, and his partner, Cheryl, are moving from their home in Malibu to a new one on the coast. But they won’t even get to build a new home there because the developer wants to turn their former backyard home into a giant green screen — and use all that precious water.
“We’ll be moving to a beach house that’s a short walk to the beach, but we won’t be living in the backyard,” said Gary Lutter. “We would’ve had one of those giant green screens for the back. We’d have a house on the ocean, but it won’t be built at all.”
That’s not a good plan for anyone who is already suffering through a long, drought riddled drought.
“For people who can’t afford a beach house, having a big green screen out at the beach is ridiculous,” said Councilman Mike Bonin. “It’s just crazy.”
The City of Malibu is now reviewing the application for the new “house on the ocean” and it’s expected to decide next week whether to approve or deny the application.
The California Coastal Commission is looking into the plans to build a massive green screen over the backyard of Gary and Cheryl Lutter’s house. (Image courtesy of Gary Lutter)
Earlier this month, the Commission had ordered the Lutters to suspend their plans to develop their property with construction of a new home, citing potential violation of the Coastal Act.
The Lutters had submitted an application to the Coastal Commission asking permission to buy a