With 624 pages over eight documents, developers of the Harvest Estate have presented to the public their case for a 290-lot subdivision at West Byron, located opposite the industrial estate on Ewingsdale Road.
The development application (DA) estimates it will cost $25m for the works, and approval for stages one and two are sought over 74.9ha by Villa World Byron Pty Ltd.
Most of the lots – 277 of them – will be ‘low-density single dwellings,’ at a minimum lot size of 450m2, as prescribed in the Byron Local Environmental Plan 1988 (BLEP).
According to the Gold Coast-based company, the plan ‘is generally consistent with those indicative wishes of Council officers as evident within the draft development control plan (DCP) section E8 for the West Byron Urban Release Area (WBURA).’
The words ‘generally consistent’ relate to the company’s decision to push ahead now and ignore Council’s yet to be approved West Byron DCP, which provides the community some say over how the project would roll out.
The Echo asked Council’s sustainable environment and economy director Ms Shannon Burt what influence the community could expect given the state government has intervened throughout the process to ensure the project happens.
She told The Echo, ‘The DA would be assessed on merit with consideration of the current LEP and draft DCP.’
Ms Burt said Council will be making a submission and she encouraged residents to read the DA and consider making a submission either in support or with concerns.
She also added that the peer review of the West Byron DCP had been completed and would be reported to the June 22 meeting.
With the West Byron DA now on public exhibition, The Echo asked local Nationals MLC Ben Frankin, ‘Given the lack of community influence over how this development will proceed, do you agree this entire process has been a farce and is a failure of responsible, transparent and inclusive governance?’
Frankin replied, ‘Submissions can currently be made to Byron Shire Council for this DA. The mandatory community consultation requirements ensure the planning system enables every community member to have a voice in shaping the future of their community.’
The application currently being assessed by Council is for 290 of up to 1,100 allotments. This application is currently on exhibition until July 12, 2017.
Submissions must be made to Byron Shire Council.
After considering the application and submissions, Council will provide a report and recommendation to the Northern JRPP as to whether it recommends the proposal should proceed or not and, if supported, what conditions should be included to control any future development.
‘There are heads of consideration that must be addressed in each stage of the development assessment process. This includes whether the proposal is in the public interest,’ Franklin said.
‘The mandatory community consultation requirements and their subsequent considerations ensure the planning system enables every community member to have a voice in shaping the future of their community.
‘The Act provides that where a DCP has been delayed by Council an application may be made without the need for a DCP to be in place.
‘For this reason the minister has been encouraging Council to adopt a DCP to promote orderly and efficient development.’
The Echo also asked Franklin: ‘Do you have full confidence in the Northern Region JRPP, which is headed by a former politician who was recently criticised by the courts over his botched report arguing for council amalgamations? And, how do you see the JRPP being independent given it approves nearly 100 per cent of developments it considers?
He replied, ‘Members of the panel are required to comply with the Panel’s Code of Conduct. The NSW government has confidence in the professional and independent chairing of the JRPP.
‘The approval rate of the JRPP is entirely independent of the minister for planning.
‘The JRPP make decisions based on assessment reports provided by Council, reviewing written submissions and listening to those who address the panel during public determination meetings.’