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Byron Shire
April 23, 2021

Byron opens doors for rural dual occupancy

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Byron Shire Council is considering allowing rural properties to have a secondary dwelling under a proposed key policy change now on public exhibition.

The move could open the door for owners of hundreds of illegal secondary dwellings around the shire to apply for development approval for granny flats, studios, bails and sheds which are lived in but unauthorised, as well as new secondary dwellings.

Over a year ago, neighbouring Lismore City Council allowed rural landowners to apply for detached dual occupancy, with secondary dwelling having to be within 100 metres of the existing one.

Lismore councillors overwhelmingly voted for the change, which they saw as a critical step for the continuation of farming in the region by allowing farmers with diminishing incomes a second income stream from a rental property.

Byron Shire Council’s general manager Ken Gainger said yesterday that allowing for secondary dwellings in rural areas ‘can increase the range of housing options throughout the shire, develop regional communities and assist those living in rural areas by making their properties more viable’.

‘It can also provide opportunities to legitimise unapproved dwellings and structures in rural areas so as to meet regulatory building and safety standards as well as resolve effluent disposal and bushfire management issues,’ Mr Gainger said.

He said that across the shire over the years, ‘plenty of people’ have wanted to build a secondary dwelling.

Council will now consider the impact of permitting detached dual occupancies and secondary dwellings on rural zoned land.

‘However there are infrastructure issues relating to roads, water and sewage and access to services that also need to be considered. Therefore Council is keen to hear from the community before making any final decisions on the proposed changes,’ Mr Gainger said.

The planning proposal is currently on exhibition until 4pm Friday, 16 January.  The planning proposal can be viewed on Council’s website at www.byron.nsw.gov.au/public-exhibition#node-56456.

Submissions can be made in writing and addressed to the General Manager, Byron Shire Council, PO Box 219 Mullumbimby 2482 or sent by email to [email protected].

To view and download the proposal visit Planning Proposal re dual occupancy and secondary dwellings in RU1 and RU2 

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  1. Great that the Byron Shire council are thinking about being helpful. Even thinking is a start. Actually an acting council manager approved our rural dual occupancy without a covered walkway a year ago at least. Being originally two quite sepperate houses, we put in a proposal for change of use from Expanded House to Dual Occ. we needed to show connectivity as that’s in the state guidelines. There is a path between the two houses and also a single car arrival point with one double car port, photos were taken and all was good to go.
    The acting GM was very supportive and said that as long as connectivity was proven to be shown, there would be no problems, and there weren’t! Of course the council police, ie from planning, had to come by uninvited and un announced, and flex their muscles, huff and puff, stand over me and say NO NO NO it can’t and won’t be done, there are laws you know that can’t be broken…etc etc etc…. Then accused the acting GM of being nothing but a politician, and what would he know anyway.. Oh dear, sad but true. Luckily I am old enough and saw through their smoke screen, called the acting GM. The acting GM secretary said not to worry and all was sorted! great acting GM, a real human being not bound by overwhelming desires to make life hell for Byron rate payers. Sadly missed no doubt by one and all. The moral is, don’t be baffled by bullshit, go straight to the top, ask the questions there, submit you plans by post…then they are automatically received, bypassing the nasty officious guard dogs behind the counter who only know the NO word. Good luck with it all. Remember when we all got busted for having a grany flat? And when the council compliance guy in black would come and bash on our doors and threaten us? How many of us were intimidated, fined, stood over and yelled at by that nasty piece of wok, and then suddenly by a simple snap of the fingers we were all encouraged to create granny flats. Was it to make the council look to the state like we were opening up more housing options? Was it because the state expects that of councils,opening up more housing options? Is that what they are doing now? Looks like. And all of a sudden they are the nice guys and condescendingly allowing us to put in a plan that will help them feather their nest, a plan that they could have accepted from one and all, OVER THE COUNTER, as done with my Duol Occ., and we’re supposed to think their nice, and not be pissed off all the time. Crazy.

  2. All I can say is, what a relief… that Council is making this consideration… and let’s hope they implement it sooner than later… The housing shortage in the Shire is more critical than ever, with families and singles homeless and also having to leave the Shire for lack of housing, let alone affordable housing!!

  3. This is an intelligent decision. There are so many enthusiastic people that would be keen to assist existing farmers to help land become more productive. Live in labour could be a vital key to this.


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