Just 15 submissions have been received regarding plans for the development of a 108-hectare site, ultimately set to contain upwards of 800 homes, west of the existing township of Byron Bay.
The proposal, which is now with NSW Planning & Infrastructure, aims to rezone the site opposite the existing Arts & Industry Estate.
It would allow for low/medium-density residential, industrial and a neighbourhood centre, as well as environmental zones.
There are also plans to establish planning controls including building heights, minimum lot sizes, flood planning requirements, coastal protection and management of acid sulphate soils.
While the aim to add more housing to west of Byron is contentious, the landowners argue that ‘adding to the supply of residential land and housing will bring prices down and give more people the opportunity to live in Byron Bay rather than commute from out of town’.
Of the 15 public submissions so far received on the proposal, five are objecting, seven are supporting and three offer comments only.
One objector raised concerns about ‘the impact on the Belongil Estuary’, adding that ‘developer “guarantees” of low/nil impact should not be regarded as acceptable safeguards’.
Byron Shire Council in November 2011 called on NSW Planning & Infrastructure to not proceed with rezoning the land until transport issues could be adequately addressed. Council’s submission also advised that ‘the residential density of 17 dwellings per hectare is well in excess of other subdivisions in the shire’ and called for no flood-liable lands to be filled.
The Echo asked a spokesperson for the West Byron landowners when they expected to have the project up and running, if it is approved.
‘We’ve been in the approvals process for the West Byron Project since late 2008 and although it’s difficult to put an exact timeframe on any construction, it probably wouldn’t be much less than three to five years,’ the spokesperson said.
The business/commercial hub is proposed to be about one hectare in size, ‘located at the centre of the site for ease of walking access from within the release area’.
She added that the business centre would occupy 13ha at the western end of the site, ‘conceptually in a style similar to the Arts and Industry Estate.’
Dual carriageway recommended to address traffic
In regard to traffic issues, the West Byron Project website recommends a dual carriageway on Ewingsdale Road and bike paths that would lead into town from the estate.
A detailed traffic study completed two years ago forms part of the material on public exhibition, says the spokesperson. ‘RMS agreed on the scope of that study before it was commenced and accepted the findings after it was completed and Council is in receipt of the computer simulation for traffic on Ewingsdale Road.’
So who are the developers?
They are long-term residents of the Byron area, according to the spokesperson, ‘… absolutely committed to delivering a quality outcome for the community’ over the next 20 years.
The landowners are Tony Smith, Byron Shire local who has owned his holding for 22 years, Alan Heathcote of Suffolk Park, Peter Croke, longtime Byron Bay resident and business owner, Crighton Properties (under receivership and management), David O’Connor, long-term Byron resident who has owned his holding for 25 years, Garry McDonald, long-term Byron Shire resident and business owner, Warren Simmons, longtime Byron Shire resident and business owner, and Kevin Rogers, long-term investor in Byron.
The plans for the West Byron Project can be viewed at http://bit.ly/westbyronplans and public submissions can be made until January 31, 2014.
For more information, visit the landowners’ site at www.westbyronproject.com.au.