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Byron Shire
May 15, 2021

Developer on Byron Bay masterplan group lodges $21m four-storey DA

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Despite being on the town masterplan group, developer Graham Dunn has sought to bypass council's planning processes by lodging a $21m DA, in contravention of the LEP, that will be considered by the Joint Regional Planning Panel. Image Google Maps
Despite being on the town masterplan group, developer Graham Dunn bypassed council’s planning processes by lodging a $21m DA, in contravention of the LEP, that will be considered by the Joint Regional Planning Panel instead. Image Google Maps

Realtor/developer Graham Dunn has stood by his decision to remain on the Byron Bay masterplan leadership team while being involved with a $21m four-storey high-density DA (development application), located on the corner block opposite Mitre 10 and Byron Music.

The Byron Bay masterplan leadership team comprises 22 community members who will advise and direct the town’s masterplan delivery.

The DA proposes 24 residential apartments, 26 serviced apartments, a 65-capacity childcare centre, two retail premises and a restaurant.

While the community has for many years fought hard to retain a three-storey height limit, Mr Dunn’s DA states that four storeys ‘are a response to the recommendations of the council-adopted Byron Bay Masterplan.’

As the development is estimated to be over $20m, the state government’s Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP) will be the consent authority, which approves almost 100 per cent of development applications.

Remarkably Mr Dunn claims there is no pecuniary interest as he told the group of his intention to develop the site when he joined the group. Mr Dunn says he declared his pecuniary interest both in writing and verbally.

However spokesperson for the group Donald Maughan told The Echo he attended every meeting and had ‘no recollection of Mr Dunn stating any interests in the development in the southern end of Jonson Street.’

Conflicting statements

Fellow team member Dr Mary Gardner also supported Mr Maughan’s statement.

Mr Maughan said, ‘I cannot speak for the community members of the masterplan leadership team; however, on a personal level this DA that proposes to exceed current height restrictions does worry me. Its size and its impact on transport movement and infrastructure in the community of the Bay will be significant.’

‘The fact that it’s costed at over $20m has the possibility of taking its approval from council’s jurisdiction to the state government and that really worries me as the community loses any say.

‘I emphasise that the masterplan leadership committee has not discussed this DA and to my knowledge community members in the team were not aware of its detail.’

Councillors selected 22 community members for the leadership team at its December 15, 2016 meeting.

They are Helen Buckley, Garry Chigwidden, Anne Leitch, Gail Fuller, Byron Rogers, Fleur Verschure, Meredith Wray, Vicki Henricks, Mono Stewart, David Michie, Peggy O’Neill, Troy Eady, Greg Meek, Chris Hanley, Kirra Pendergast, Dan Schreiber, Donald Maughan, Graham Dunn, Mary Gardner, Geoff Bensley, Tony Gembeck and Charlie Wilson.

See also: Byron Bay developer clarifies four-storey DA

For more info visit www.byron.nsw.gov.au/byron-bay-town-centre-masterplan.

This story was amended to reflect the proposal is for 24 residential apartments, not 24 shops, as well as a restaurant, not cafe. The DA is also valued at $23.18m, not $21m. The $21m figure was taken from the DA but a new figure was provided by the developer. 


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  1. For the record I don’t recall Graham mentioning his involvement in the Jonson St development when he joined the leadership team either, and I’ve been to every meeting. I first became aware of the development on November 2nd.

    • Another member of the Masterplan team does recall Graham disclosing his interest in the Jonson St development at the first meeting and I’m happy to accept that.

  2. At the first meeting of the MPLT we gave a brief description of what we did and our visions , Graham told us he was a developer. Graham has lived here for over 25 years and has a wonderful partner who has lived in Byron Bay longer than me ie 52 years.
    I would have objected to having rabid greenies and rabid developers on the MPLT ,Graham is in between these two groups !
    Without developers we wouldn’t have Suffolk Park , Byron Hills , Baywood Chase or Parkway Drive area.
    Thanks to Graham for being a volunteer and a philanthropist in our town.

  3. The community must stand up and defend the 3 story height limit. Should a precedent be set with this development, we will see a wave of mega-development, and loose any resemblance of the small town character that drew most of us here.

    I am sure there are those who will say Byron is a lost case, but I say that we have a strong community, we have saved the town from numerous onslaughts, and this will be just another.

    • Im sure a lot of locals are happy to see development of any sort. It creates jobs and moves this town into the future. If you want a sleep town there are plenty of these on the east coast. People need to stop thinking that the whole community isn’t in favour of these types of this. I live directly across from this site and would love to see it and any others built. Too many people in this town holding it back. Big shame.

  4. Do not let 4 storey developments happen, EVER – the maximum building height is one of the last things Byron has left to fight turning into every other town.

    West Byron is trying the same thing and they are not even in the ‘CBD’

  5. The Joint regional planning panel is an unforgivable assault on local communities all across NSW. This is the main game of the property council and its minions in the LNP. Why do we put up with this? Anything over $20m no matter how destructive is likely to get a tick by hand selected JRRP yes men.

    Add in the new native veg laws where any vegetation no matter how important, can be traded away for cash. Literally, koala habitat will be given monetary value and a developer can pay into a fund to destroy it. The conservative view of the world is a sickness.

  6. Looks like another fight for the Byron community…..NO to 4 story buildings, lifting height restrictions must not happen. Please keep Byron safe from Gold Coast style developments, the new shopping mall is more than enough, how many shops do we need? Go to the Gold Coast if you want to shop. Byron is for nature lovers. Keep Byron’s beauty and independent culture alive….it’s never too late to stand up and fight for this very special place.

  7. This is a dreadful proposal, and apart from all the valid arguments about height limits etc, this a blatant attempt at back-dooring a DA through a compliant State Gov.
    Does anyone check the validity of the proposed cost, or is merely sufficient to float a $20mill + figure and stand back and wait? If you were a cynic (heaven forbid) you would inflate all DA costs to over $20 mill and then wind back the scale of the project after approval!
    This needs to be nipped in the bud.

  8. Pigs arse $20+million for the build its so so slimy.
    Surely the bay community will try whatever we can do to stop this from happening.
    The height restrictions are all we have left to keep the Bay from being over developed and turned more into Noosa with high rise buildings everywhere.
    This decision could be the end of the bay as we know it.


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