In what environmentalists hailed as a big boost to coastline protection, the California Coastal Commission on Tuesday rejected a developer's plans to build luxury homes on a private Malibu beach.
By a 6-5 vote, the panel rejected the plans of Norman Haynie and his associates to build the first of up to 17 houses on pristine Lechuza Beach. Opponents had warned that approval would open the way to widespread development on parts of the coastline now off-limits to construction.
The commission majority ruled that Haynie and the others had no right to build on their own property because to do so would violate a part of the 1976 Coastal Act, which prohibits seawalls from being built except to protect existing structures. State officials had said that the houses Haynie wanted to build on a 1,600-foot-long stretch of beach would be unsafe without a seawall. Sherman Stacy, a lawyer for the developer, said his clients will seek to overturn the ruling in court.