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Byron Shire
May 11, 2021

What is a developer?

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Matthew O’Reilly, Saddle Road

A little more than ten years ago I was the Northern Territory delegate to the Australian Greens national conference. At that conference it was the NSW Greens who railed against the involvement and influence of property developers in political decision making.

The Australian Greens’ policy was subsequently amended to forbid the Greens accepting political donations from property developers.The influence of property developers in NSW politics has been brought clearly into focus over the past decade with ICAC investigations into both Labour, Liberal and National Party members and their associations with property developers.

A property developer by any other name is still a property developer. What they have in common is that they make massive profits from the rezoning of rural land to residential land or the approval of development applications for subdivisions.

In both cases it is local NSW councils who are the primary decision makers relating to both zoning changes and development approvals.

If you wash away the rainbows and sparkles from the Bruns Eco Village development you still have a property developer who bought farmland for $1.2 million and is seeking to rezone that farmland to village zoning and then on sell the re-zoned land for $8 million just a few short years later.

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  1. Now it appears you’re doing the same on the property you are managing on Saddle Road, Matthew. How is you’re aged housing development any different? All developers promote the positives and your claims the housing will be affordable is no more credible than the Bruns eco village – it will still blight the ridgeline and requires the removal of many trees, new roads and other infrastructure. Sorry we’re all so cynical but we’ve heard it all before. Get the re-zoning and DA approval and then sell off to the highest bidder – as an employee you can’t guarantee that’s not going to happen with the developers you’re working for……they often enlist compliant greens in the earlier stages! Current Green councillors have been totally hoodwinked by those slick talking salesmen.

  2. I do believe Michele has missed the point. The Echo’s coverage of the proponent’s EOI is academic. Matthew is endeavouring to demonstrate how rural land can be used without going through a rezoning process. My understanding is the land holders – 3 + 2 (?) are against the rezoning of the scenic Saddle Ridge for rural residential which would provide for a completely different density and indeed mix of development?

  3. Hi Michelle, None of us have actually lodged a DA or Planning proposal. In fact we are completely opposed to any rezoning along the Saddle Road. What we tried to show Council is an alternative vision fro Saddle Road that maintains its rural zoning but shows what affordable housing can actually take place withing the existing rural zoning. The title of the article was a bit misleading as we have never proposed a retirement village. What we tried to show is that seniors group homes are permitted in rural zones and if a number of such group homes were scattered throughout the Shire it would create an affordable option to the many seniors in our community who want to downsize. The report we produced is freely available on request. PS if I really wanted to do a retirement village we would be supporting rezoning not fighting it. A retirement village cannot be built in a rural zone but only in residential zones. We have had a assessment done and if we went along with the proposed rezoning and sub-divided all our land into small lots we would earn over $20 million. But that is not we we want nor what we think is in the best interests of the Byron community. We want to maintain regionally significant farmland, cultural heritage sites, high environmental value vegetation and scenic and water values. We as a community are not against rural based development that is permitted in rural zones but we are against rezoning to village or residential. We are not NIMBYS and we have tried to show an alternative path that preserves what the community values but allows affordable housing to co-exist.

  4. Thanks for the explanation Matt – and Patricia! Glad to hear you’re not supporting rezoning of Saddle Rd and for illustrating what’s already possible under current rural zoning. I didn’t get it first time!! The latest proposal to rezone Saddle Rd will create a community double the size of Bruns & Mullum – and will certainly enrich those land owners who bought rural land – and destroy farmland and high value environmental lands. more suburban housing (and cars) spreading along the coast is not the way forward! Let’s hope Council won’t go ahead with the rezoning.

  5. According to the A.E.C. a Property Developer is any person who builds more than one property. This could easily be applied to a lot of Mums and Dads who build there own homes and then are able to build another one.
    Perhaps Property Developer needs better defining, for instance a Builder lodges the D.A.’s for ALL the homes he will build on behalf of the likes of you and me. This makes him a property developer, I mean really!!!!
    A property developer to me is big business not the local builder.


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