A Byron Shire councillor’s storage facility on a short quiet Myocum road is still causing headaches for residents, but they aren’t giving up the fight.
Pinegroves Road locals have now taken what they say is Council staff’s failure to respond to their written concerns regarding breached conditions to the NSW Department of Local Government and the NSW Ombudsman.
Additionally they claim Cr Alan Hunter misled his fellow councillors when they voted to approve the facility over a year ago. It’s the latest instalment in a long running dispute between the high profile Nationals member and his neighbours.
Resident Rebecca Chaffer told The Echo that at no time did Cr Hunter’s DA mention a self storage facility, only a road transport terminal.
She said, ‘Regardless of whether a business is permitted in the zoning, it still has to be assessed to determine if it meets the zoning objectives. Therefore, [this] DA needs to clearly outline what the business is and be assessed accordingly.’
Mrs Chaffer added the storage definition within the LEP is ambiguous.
But Cr Hunter defends his activity, telling The Echo that ‘The current Byron Shire LEP has “storage premises” as a permissible use with consent in the RU-2 and IN-2 land use zones. By definition, “storage premises” is the parent activity and includes self storage.’
It’s a claim supported in the 2014 LEP; self-storage units is defined as a type of storage facility under its dictionary, yet are also defined within industrial zonings
Cr Hunter says, ‘Our farm had two zones under the former LEP; 1(a) and 1(C1). Road Transport Terminal was a permissible use in the 1(a) (now RU2) zone. The elected Byron Council with staff recommendation approved the use of the farm shed as a Road Transport Terminal (bulk handling of goods arriving and leaving by road) under the 1988 LEP.
‘As far as I am aware, Council staff have had no issue with the current use of the building however it is advertised. There is no restriction on what is advertised. The primary concern was at first just trucks but now appears to be cars and utilities on the public street beside their house and complaints are about their safety and preference to walk, skateboard, stroll and have their children play on it.
‘Storage doesn’t generate a lot of traffic and many farm activities like feedlots, dairies and piggeries, even cane growing, all permissible in RU-2 along with many other non-farm activities, have the potential to generate more traffic, odours, dust and noise. As far as I am aware there hasn’t been complaints about the offensive nature of the storage activity.’
Sense of entitlement
But another resident, Angus Way, told The Echo, ‘The sense of entitlement is staggering. Alan is listing a bunch of alternative uses like feedlots, dairies and piggeries, even cane growing. None of those activities require constant light vehicle traffic access for the general public, seven days a week. All of those uses are intensive ag enterprises that are generally long established due to the high capital costs in plant and equipment as opposed to a few shipping containers.
‘Only a couple of those examples continue to exist in the northern rivers. He’s listed a bunch of activities that will never be a realistic alternative to scare us into believing that “Alan’s Shipping Container Storage Co” is the better option. It’s just typical lazy politician speak – don’t answer the question and list a bunch of alternatives that sound worse so he gets what he wants.
‘He’s trying to bury the truth of his business operations. His business is being conducted in the wrong place and should be in a zoned light industrial area. If the Council continue to hide behind these alternative uses as a justification for him to do as he likes, it demeans us all.’