Further to last week’s report of a high density development proposed on the corner block at the end of Jonson Street opposite Byron Music, developer Graham Dunn says that the proposed height of his development ‘complies with the current height of building for the B2 Town Centre zone of 11.5 metres.’
‘The height of the building is not taller than some other existing developments,’ he says. ‘For example, the Butter Factory apartments across the street are 11.5m.’
‘The fourth storey is set back and barely visible from the street. The buildings are respectful of the Byron streetscape; the designers integrated significant gardens and planting to reduce the visual structure.
‘The design was directly in response to the need for more permanent rental accommodation in Byron Bay and also the need for more child care.’
Also Mr Dunn says the 24 shops as reported last week are ‘shop top houses’ which would be ‘permanent longterm residential accommodation.’
He says, ‘There are two shops and one restaurant on the ground floor. Plus there is a child care centre on the ground floor.’
Additionally, Mr Dunn has clarified that the estimated cost is $23.18m, not $21m as written on the DA.
The Echo asked Mr Dunn, ‘Would you consider having this DA assessed by Byron Shire Council instead of the Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP) by reducing the capital investment to below $20m?’
He replied, ‘I would love it if the project were going to cost less than $20m to build; it would save us a lot of money. However, the quantity surveyor’s report states that it will cost $23,186,495. This is the construction cost value on which we paid our Development Application fees.’
Mr Dunn also maintains he told the Byron Bay Masterplan leadership team of his pecuniary interest with the development when joining the group and wrote his interest in his application form to the group.
Supporting Mr Dunn, fellow member of the Byron Bay masterplan team, Byron Rogers, posted on the Support our Masterplan Byron Bay Facebook page that he ‘was at the meeting where Graham Dunn introduced himself and explained that he was a developer, that he was planning to develop this site and that he was interested in getting feedback from the community about it.’
Additionally another leadership team member, Geoff Bensley, supported Mr Dunn’s good character on The Echo’s online story.
He wrote, ‘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.’
Another masterplan leadership team member David Michie wrote on The Echo’s online story that while he didn’t hear Mr Dunn mention his involvement in the Jonson Street development when he joined the leadership team… ‘another member of the masterplan team does recall Graham disclosing his interest in the Jonson Street development at the first meeting and I’m happy to accept that.’
The Echo understands that no minutes of past masterplan meetings were recorded, yet a Council staff member has now been assigned to the group to help facilitate public communication.
Mr Dunn was also keen to point to the sustainable components of his proposal.
‘The building will contain a commercial-scale photovoltaic (solar system) on the roof to provide up to 20kW of peak power. This energy will be stored in batteries in the building and the energy will power multiple areas including common areas, lifts and basement exhaust.
‘We think that the most interesting use of this energy will be the powering of electric cars and electric bicycles. The electric-car charging station is in line with the Byron Shire, Tweed and Ballina Councils’ Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Strategy, which has the aim of promoting regional uptake of electric vehicles to business and the community.’
South Jonson St
While the Byron Bay Town Centre Masterplan recommends community wishes that the CBD remain at three storeys, page 69 suggests the Jonson Street South precinct be ‘incrementally transformed’ into a mixed-use district that supports medium-density living and local business.’
It reads, ‘By achieving this outcome, a greater population of residents and workers can be located within walking distance of the town centre core.
In addition, the economic vibrancy of the town centre core can be better concentrated in and around the town centre core ensuring a more compact and walkable town centre environment.’
Key actions include aiming ‘to increase the centre’s residential offering through accommodating a diverse array of dwelling types supporting the centre’s varying demographic.’
The masterplan also suggests removing the ‘incentive for local retail-dominant developments in this precinct through amending the LEP landuse zoning to a mixed- use zoning.’