Tweed shire planners have recommended refusal of a spate of bids to change the use of homes on the Tweed Coast for holiday letting.
The issue of holiday-letting and its legality has been a thorn in the side of local governments up and down the NSW coast, especially in neighbouring Byron Shire where opposing groups of residents and landlords argue for legal certainty.
The Tweed also is trying to follow Byron Council’s lead in trying to gain some control over the holiday letting industry.
It’s estimated that up to 700 properties are being used for holiday letting in the Tweed without any approval from council.
At tomorrow night’s Tweed Shire Council meeting (to be held August 7), around 10 development applications (DAs) seeking the dual use to allow for the homes to be used for both permanent residency and short term holiday letting, will be determined.
Most are in the upmarket Salt-Casuarina precinct south of Kingscliff.
It’s understood most councillors back allowing holiday letting and councillors have previously debated the issue and expressed in-principle support for the DAs, calling for a report with recommended conditions of consent.
In one DA, permanent residency is sought for a series of holiday apartments while other DAs seek a change of use of homes for tourist accommodation, as landowners look for a better return on their properties.
Chief planner Vince Connell says in his reports that despite the recommendation, the DAs would still have to be determined by councillors, given the current legal status of overall planning laws.
Mr Connell said the change of use sought would be a prohibited use under zoning of the shire’s new Local Environment Plan (LEP).
The draft Tweed LEP 2012 was gazetted (as amended) on 4 April this year as the Tweed LEP 2014.
He said that under the draft Tweed LEP 2012, the entire site where the change of use is proposed is zoned R2 Low Density Residential where tourist and visitor accommodation ‘would not be permissible’.
‘In addition, the proposal is not considered to be consistent with the objectives of the R2 Low Density Residential zone under this plan,’ Mr Connell said.
He said that although this LEP contained a savings provision for DAs made before it commenced, the proposal must have regard to its provisions.
‘There are various legal precedents created through the NSW Land and Environment Court, which require consent authorities to give greater weight to draft environmental planning instruments which are “certain and imminent”, Mr Connell said.
‘It is considered that this weighting has greater relevance once a draft LEP has been gazetted as the draft LEP can be assessed as being certain and imminent, given that it was subsequently gazetted.’
In comments on other DAs, he said the amenity of the locality would be adversely impacted by the holiday letting use in an area with many residential dwellings.