The controversial development at West Byron, which has drawn condemnation of local residents and split Byron Shire Council has been approved by the NSW Government.
The department of planning and environment today announced approval, which it says will ‘ease housing affordability issues in the region’.
‘People living in the new homes will live within walking or cycling distance of the town centre,’ a department spokesperson said in a media release.
In announcing the approval the department boasted it would provide, ‘more work for local tradies’ and ‘greater choice in terms of types and styles of housing available in the region’.
The Byron Residents Group, which fought hard against the development, cited high-use koala habitat, acid sulphate soils and traffic congestion on already overloaded Ewingsdale Road as major arguments against it.
But the department says it has addressed all of these issues in what it describes as ‘detailed consultation with the community and Byron Shire Council’.
In particular the spokesperson noted ‘the NSW Government’s recent announcement of $10.5 million toward a road bypass of Byron Bay town centre,’ which it said would ‘make a significant dent in local traffic congestion’.
Byron Shire Council will remain the consent authority for all DAs on the rezoned land.
‘The department is now working with Council to finalise the West Byron Development Control Plan,’ the spokesperson said.
He added that ‘through the rezoning approval, we’re making the developer pay almost $8 million to the community for local road upgrades.’
Asked for a comment on the announcement, Byron Residents Group spokesperson Cate Coorey said she could offer ‘none that were printable’ but added the group would be making an announcement later today.
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