Claren Road's Fahey Faces Celebrity Uproar Over Planned Malibu Home

Feb 2 2012 | 2:37am ET

Claren Road Asset Management co-founder Sean Fahey isn't doing much to endear himself to his future California neighbors.

Fahey plans to demolish a seven-year-old Malibu mansion to build a new, more conventional dwelling. But the New York hedge fund manager's planned two-story Mission-style home has Point Dume residents in a lather over the things that Malibu residents cherish most: privacy and ocean views.

"In my wildest dreams, I would never, ever have thought it would be possible for someone to build closer to our home," next-door neighbor Chad Smith, drummer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, told the Los Angeles Times. "And also into the view of what you know is so precious to us and our family."

Smith has enlisted his three bandmates—Malibu residents all—as well as some of Point Dume's other celebrity residents, including Sean Penn, Don Rickles and Julia Roberts, in pushing to preserve the current house, a steel-and-glass ensemble of diamond-shaped rooms on a hillside.

"These faux Tuscan mansions that go up, they block the sky, block the sum, take up the entire sight, impinge on the neighbors' home values, beauty, sightlines," another opponent, actress Kelly Lynch, who does not live in Point Dume, said. "It's an old story."

The problem for the Faheys' opponents is that Malibu has no historic preservation ordinance. Malibu's planning staff has recommended approval of the project, although its Planning Commission postponed its vote in hopes that the Faheys and their future neighbors could work things out.

For their part, the Faheys complain that the current house fits neither their needs nor their taste. The home they'd like to build will include a detached garage, pool and cabana. "My clients are excited to come out to Point Dume and be part of the community," Fiona Hutton, a spokeswoman for the Faheys' Sogel Family Trust, said. "It's a beautiful lot in a wonderful location."

The Faheys have recently cut the height of their planned breakfast nook, which could block views, by two feet, six feet lower than it has to be under Malibu law.

The Faheys paid $6.2 million for the current house in 2010.


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