A developer accused by the California Coastal Commission of illegally grading a 2 1/2-mile road in Malibu's Upper Ramirez Canyon in 1989 this week won the panel's approval for an after-the-fact permit for the work.
By an 8-1 vote, the commission on Thursday approved the permit for developer Charles Tarrats, whose paving of the rugged roadway in the Santa Monica Mountains two years ago had enraged the panel. Commissioner Madelyn Glickfeld, who lives in Malibu, cast the dissenting vote.
But the after-the-fact permit does not end Tarrats' troubles. The state attorney general's office is seeking millions of dollars in damages from a group of about 40 Malibu property owners, headed by Tarrats, for allegedly pooling their money to do the work. Opponents ridiculed the commission's decision, saying it will open the floodgates to developers who may prefer to "pave now and pay later" under similar circumstances.