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Byron Shire
May 17, 2021

Broken Head MO refused

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A plan for a seven-dwelling multiple occupancy (MO) on a prime Broken Head property has been knocked back by Byron Shire Council.

The seven owners of the 18-hectare site zoned for environmental protection on Seven Mile Beach Road had sought to boost the number of dwellings on the property from four to seven and the lifting of a ban on buildings outside authorised envelopes.

Spokesman for the Bunjum community which owns the site, Darren Webber, told councillors last week that when the owners bought they land in 1994, a plan for an MO was lodged but council never responded.

Mr Webber said changes to the environmental zonings under the Local Environment Plan (LEP) in 1997 had been ’very restrictive’, allowing only four dwellings and some of the owners had been forced to ’live in tents and sheds’ as a result.

But their neighbour, former north coast MLC Ian Cohen, described the move as ’a land grab’ and he held serious concerns over it.

Mr Cohen said he was not against MOs, but concerns from this one included illegal development over the years and ’severely destructive’ road works and clearing of rainforest trees.

‘The LEP says four sites are allowed, but seven sites is a land grab which has been pushed for many years.’

He said having that many dwellings with a 4.5 kilometres of roads through rainforest areas was ’not sustainable’, and fire authorities had also ruled it out because of the fire risk.

Mr Cohen, the founder of the Broken Head Protection Association, said the area was long regarded as ’one of the crown jewels of the north coast’ and needed protection.

All councillors except Diane Woods voted to ask the owners to amend their plan to provide for four dwellings on the most appropriate building envelopes, deferring the current development application (DA) for the MO till that was determined.

Chief planner Ray Darney said Council could not approve the current DA because some of the existing and proposed building envelopes were illegal and the land only allowed for four dwellings.

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