A $21-million artisan-village development with 67 dwellings and retail shops in Bayshore Drive, west Byron Bay recently given the green light by the state-appointed regional planning panel has been welcomed by mayor Jan Barham as ‘one of the better’ projects council has had to deal with.
Ironically, the developer behind the Bayshore Village project, entrepreneur Brandon Saul, is also involved in the North Byron Parklands festival site development at Yelgun passed by the state’s Planning Assessment Commission last month, which Byron Council had strongly opposed.
But work on construction of the Bayshore Village project, on a 12-acre site, is still at least a year away according to project managers.
The development for live-and-work-style housing was approved by council back in 2008 and revised before the Joint Regional Planning Panel approved it with 151 conditions just over two months ago. The land was first set aside for a village-style development 13 years ago and sold by council in 1999 for $405,000 to Brandon Saul Holdings, which has since moved to bring the old project to fruition.
The village, to be built in stages, will also be ‘smart-wired’ and feature a range of home styles, four light-industry buildings, retail and office space, a community hall, cafe, pool and health spa.
Cr Barham praised Mr Saul, a locally based events promoter, in its handling of the project on the environmentally sensitive site from the outset, while Mr Saul agreed the ‘collaboration’ with council is what made it work.
The mayor said council approved the concept plan and rezoning amendments for the village in 2008, ‘and it was one of the better projects we’ve had to deal with’.
‘The developer in this regard did the right thing and met with council staff and councillors before going through the planning process,’ she said.
‘I raised the need in the development for smaller one-bedders for single people and they acknowledged that and put them in, so they were responsive.’
But Byron Environment and Conservation Organisation (Beacon) spokesman Dailan Pugh said council four years ago ‘ignored’ his objections by allowing ‘a higher density of development than anywhere else in Byron’, with reduced open space and set-back requirements, and within the 400-metre buffer zone for the nearby sewerage treatment works.
Mr Pugh said that at the time he warned that Ewingsdale Road, which feeds into Bayshore Drive, was under traffic stress and ‘the situation is rapidly deteriorating; no new zoning for increased development should be approved until the traffic congestion problem is fixed’.
But a council assessment says that subject to compliance to consent conditions, the project would not have a significant environmental impact.
Project manager Dominic Finlay-Jones told Echonetdaily the project was unlikely to start till next year as there was ‘still lots of work to do’.
‘It’s been a long and careful process that has taken over five years,’ he said.
He said the project would help address Byron’s shortage of affordable rental housing while also catering for people working in the creative industries with the live-and-work style of the village.
The development will also have onsite treatment of stormwater, rainwater harvesting and recycling.