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Byron Shire
January 29, 2022

Belongil beachfront landowners seek DAs

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Under the resolution to a long-running Supreme Court case, Belongil beachfront landowners will now be able to 'maintain' existing protective structures but not upgrade or replace them. Photo Chris Dobney
A group of Belongil beachfront landowners have applied to Byron Shire Council to  ‘maintain’ existing protective structures in front of their homes. Photo Chris Dobney

Hans Lovejoy

Remember last year when a handful of wealthy Belongil beachfront landowners took Council to the NSW Supreme Court? Well buckle in for the next instalment.

The plaintiffs claimed at the time that Jonson Street rock walls caused erosion in front of their properties, yet that theory was never tested in court; instead a settlement was reached with Council’s insurers (not Council).

As a result, the long-term erosion effects on Belongil beach are unknown, and questions by The Echo as to how such a decision aligns with legislation was never replied to by the NSW planning department. 

The August 12, 2016 ruling by Justice Hoeben set a precedent for erosion hotspots across NSW. The judge said that these landowners can ask Council to approve a DA to repair their structures within a year of the judgment.   

And while one landowner originally submitted a development application (DA) request to repair a beach structure a few weeks ago, councillors and the gallery heard from staff at last week’s meeting that there is now a bulk request by a group of landowners.

But councillors all voted to delay any decision, pending more information and details on what the actual repairs will look like.

Legal services co-ordinator Ralph James said the key was about being ‘reasonable’ in deciding upon the DAs, and appeared satisfied that a delay is reasonable given the new applications, which will make up a bundle of DAs. 

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