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August 3, 2021

Mullumbimby affordable housing dispute over?

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Artists impression of the front of the proposed development at 116 Stuart Street, Mullumbimby. Byron Shire Council has approved a scaled-down development of 8 units. Photo Byron Shire Council
Artists impression of the front of the proposed development at 116 Stuart Street, Mullumbimby. Developers Koho have now agreed to Byron Shire Council’s approved, scaled-down development of 8 units. Photo Byron Shire Council

It appears a long-running dispute over a Mullumbimby affordable housing DA will be resolved via a conciliation conference between developer Koho and Byron Shire Council.

A Land and Environment commissioner visited the Stuart Street site on January 24, which gave an opportunity for residents to make their case against the development.

But at this stage, Koho has told The Echo that they have agreed with the council’s proposed consent conditions. Previously Council staff had recommended a ten-unit design for approval, which was initially approved by Council.

However, after a number of rescission motions it was finally refused.

At the November 17, 2016 meeting, the mayor used his casting vote – with an absent Cr Cameron – to approve the development and to delegate authority to the general manager to enter into a conciliation agreement.

While it’s unlikely to appease residents calling for its outright rejection, Koho director Adam Bennett-Smith said, ‘After receiving a concise list of facts and contentions prepared by Council-appointed planning and heritage experts, Koho was able to respond with a revised design consisting of eight units with density reduced to comply with the Byron Shire LEP without relying on a density bonus afforded under the Affordable Rental Housing SEPP.’

‘As a further demonstration of our genuine commitment to affordable housing in the Shire, Koho has agreed for these units to remain affordable in perpetuity rather than the minimum ten years required under the Affordable Housing SEPP.

‘It is our hope that this gesture demonstrates affordable housing through inclusionary zoning, an idea that has been championed by councillor Paul Spooner and supported by the mayor, is most certainly possible. We look forward to the matter being resolved via conciliation, rather than a costly contested hearing which I believe would not be in the best interests of council, Koho, or the ratepayers.

‘As a Byron-based designer and investor in permanent rental housing for key workers, the team at Koho is very excited to contribute to increasing the supply of high- quality, well-located affordable housing in the Shire.’


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