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Byron Shire
May 8, 2021

Seaside estate changes sought

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The depressed housing market and financial pressure has been blamed by the developers of a prime beachfront subdivision on the Tweed coast for further proposed land-use changes to the 80-year-old subdivision, including a failed attempt to wipe out minimum densities.

Seaside City, wedged between Salt and Casuarina on 30 hectares bordering Cudgen Creek, is taking shape with major roads, power, water, communications and drainage built for the scores of blocks, which are already selling.

But Queensland-based developer Richtech Pty Ltd, which owns most of the blocks on the estate, wants the area’s development control plan (DCP) amended to reflect changing economic times.

The developer has suggested that neither tourist developments nor medium-density housing would be viable forms in the next 10 years. Neither are selling at the moment, Richtech says, with only single-dwelling lots having a market.

The developer wants to remove the mandatory tourist accommodation component from the central village area, increase low-density/single-dwelling development and get rid of the minimum density requirements for the remaining land use categories altogether.

Council planners have supported most proposed changes, except dropping the minimum density requirement, and councillors last Thursday voted to put the draft Seaside City DCP on public exhibition for 28 days.

Population

Planners say retaining the ‘minimum density’ provisions ensures the estate’s population will support a ‘sustainable community focused around a walkable, mixed-use village centre as per the vision and aims of the Seaside City DCP’.

Removing the density control completely, planners said, ‘could significantly jeopardise the integrity and vision’ of the plan.

The developer also wants to further subdivide 33 lots into 50 residential blocks, but that plan is subject to a development application to be dealt with by Council later.

The subdivision was originally drawn up in the 1920s but the development stalled for decades following sandmining activities and various council policies that stopped housing.

Richtech bought most of the blocks and masterplanned the beachfront community estate.

The estate has a combination of housing and land-use types including a three-storey village centre, two-storey stand-alone and multi-dwelling housing and three-storey tourist accommodation.

Council planning director Vince Connell said the developer had considered the densities and types of housing in the current DCP would be ‘unrealistic and unachievable’ over the next 10 years.

Mr Connell said the current DCP for the estate was likely to yield housing for around 1,700 people ‘indicating that a neighbourhood centre is realistically sustainable’.

He recommended most of the amendments be accepted, as they would result in increased low-density single-dwelling lots across the site.

Other changes included modifying the type of medium-density housing adjacent to the village core (for land owned by Richtech only) to facilitate ‘courtyard housing’ and including a dual-occupancy development with a minimum lot size of 700 square metres.


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