Byron Shire Council is taking compliance action against the popular Barrio café in Bayshore Drive after ongoing complaints from neighbours that it is noisy and operating outside the terms of its DA (development application).
Echonetdaily understands the venue’s owners have been served with a Penalty Infringement Notice.
Not a canteen
Barrio was approved as a ‘canteen’ for workers and residents of the still incomplete Habitat development on Bayshore Drive but neighbour Dave Dixon says the number of cars parked outside the venue in the evenings belies this status.
Mr Dixon told Echonetdaily, ‘Barrio was only approved as a low-key “canteen” but has been operating as a fully-fledged restaurant less than 50 metres from homes since they opened in December 2017.’
Council officers met with Habitat developer Brandon Saul in January over excessive noise generated by Barrio’s exhaust fans, which engineers are still trying to determine how to fix.
Then, late last month, neighbours complained about patron noise at night – and Barrio management responded by closing the doors to the café at 10pm.
But neighbours said this did little to improve their situation, as there are large plate glass windows facing directly onto Bayshore Drive.
At the time Barrio’s owner/manager Dan Wyllie told Echonetdaily the café averaged 120-150 patrons a night but Mr Dixon says this proves it is ‘anything but a low key canteen for locals’.
‘At present, there are only a dozen or so businesses operating at Habitat (and some of these are temporary, summer “pop-up” shops) and only about 20 completed dwellings.
‘This is an insufficient customer base to underpin such buoyant patron numbers and such an elaborate “canteen”,’ he said.
Out of area patrons
Mr Dixon said that on the night of Saturday, January 27, at 7.45pm, for example, ‘there were about 50 cars in the Habitat car park’.
‘Barrio was the only business open at the time suggesting the cars belonged to restaurant goers,’ he said.
Mr Dixon also raised the issue of Barrio’s application for a night-time liquor licence, which he said could only exacerbate the issue.
A Byron Shire Council spokesperson told Echonetdaily, ‘staff have met with the owner of Habitat, the development where Barrio is located, and their planning consultant to discuss a range of matters including complaints about noise and parking.’
‘Council has already commenced compliance action in relation to noise and development consent conditions,’ she said.
Shannon Burt, the council’s sustainable environment and economy director, said she was ‘not in a position to make a public statement about Barrio’s application for a liquor licence because it is a matter for the Office of Liquor & Gaming to determine.’
‘Council staff are now working with Barrio to resolve issues that are affecting people who live nearby, and in the meantime will continue to monitor the premises,’ Ms Burt said.