Byron Shire councillor Alan Hunter (Nationals Party) is under investigation by Council compliance officers after neighbours alleged he breached his DA conditions for his ‘road transport terminal.’
Additionally they claim he continues to operate an unauthorised self-storage facility at his farm at the end of the short road at Pinegroves Avenue, Myocum.
It’s the latest instalment in the long-running dispute between Cr Hunter and his neighbours; back in 2012 Cr Hunter was investigated and taken to the NSW Land and Environment Court for unapproved development, which included 20 shipping containers. At the time, Cr Hunter agreed to remove the containers within six months.
In May last year, Cr Hunter was granted consent to a change of use from a ‘farm building’ to a ‘road transport terminal’, despite unified opposition from neighbours and questionable grounds for the decision.
And in October last year, Cr Hunter told The Echo, ‘I have since obtained council approval to correct any of the past issues.’ He also claimed, ‘I had no idea that what I was doing was illegal.’
Currently his website www.byronstorageservices.com.au boasts new shipping containers are available to rent for $200 per month.
But is the operation legit?
While Council’s media spokesperson told The Echo they couldn’t comment owing to the current investigation, Cr Hunter says, ‘On advice from planning consultants and Council, I sought and received approval for a road transport terminal, which permits storage.’
‘I have responded to Council in the hope to address Council’s concerns. Council approval allows ten truck movements per week, to the facility, between 7am and 6pm weekdays except public holidays.
‘At no time have there been more than six movements in any one week, and many weeks without any.
‘There was no restriction placed on the number of light vehicles, only trucks, but for many days of the week and many weekends there are no vehicles at all. I am not aware of any restrictions on advertising for storage and Council didn’t express such concerns. There is however some confusion about the advertised access and hours of operation that we need to address.’
But neighbours are unimpressed, saying, ‘The conditions of the DA were put in place to mitigate the impact on the neighbours; however, he is operating it as a self-storage facility and most people who use such a facility need access on the weekend, which does not comply with the DA conditions.’
At the time of the illegal development in 2012, Council’s corporate governance manager Ralph James said, ‘It is not for individual landowners, no matter who they are, to decide they do not wish to comply with laws that are in place for benefit of the wider Byron Shire community.’