Tech billionaire Sean Parker will be making it up to the California Coastal Commission for his lavish -- and improperly permitted, and environmentally risky -- redwoods wedding by building them an app, and by contributing $1.4 million to public projects.
For those who don't remember the uproar, the commission's 2013 report on the former Facebook president's transformation of an environmentally sensitive site into a $10 million wonderland -- including the construction of "rock walls, stairways, a stone bridge, a faux cottage and pond, a stone archway and a dance floor" -- exploded into a condemnation of the excesses of Silicon alley elite, on the part of the media, and of the state of tech journalism, in the 10,000 vitriolic words penned by Parker in response. While some of Parker's harshest critics later scaled back their outrage as more details emerged, he agreed in the final settlement to shell out $2.5 million, to be used by various groups "to enhance public access in the Big Sur area."
In what former coastal commissioner and Assemblyman Mark Stone calls a good outcome from a bad situation, the commission announced this week eight educational and conservation projects are receiving a collective $1.4 million toward that end. As part of the "novel punishment," Parker will also be loaning his technical team to the commission to help develop a beach-mapping app that, SFGate reports, will help the public navigate around private areas in order to reach the public coastline. “We’re now working with his technical team, which is orders of magnitude beyond what we would be able to summon in terms of technical expertise within our agency,” commission spokeswoman Sarah Christie said.
“It was a creative resolution," she added, "that will ultimately benefit public access.”