Byron DAs plateau as Ballina booms

Lennox Meadows Estate: so much interest they’re conducting a lottery, according to Ballina’s mayor. Photo Homehound

There appears a constant level in residential approvals over the last two terms of Byron Shire Council, according to staff, with a total of 404 approved in 2017 and 316 approved in 2012.

Meanwhile in Ballina, developments are steaming ahead, despite some being held up in court.

Byron’s approvals include rural and urban dwellings, dual occupancy, studios, tourist facilities and secondary dwellings.

The figures were published in the April 19 Council agenda minutes after Cr Cate Coorey asked for the data for residential approvals ‘over the last two terms of Council and since the operation of the Byron local environment plan (LEP) 2014.’

Cr Coorey asked staff the question to assist councillors and the community with formulating the upcoming residential strategy and ‘to assist in considering future planning decisions.’

Council-approved developments also include JRPP-approved developments, which are triggered after a development application (DA) is submitted that is over $20m.

While the figures provided did not include the number of DA applications made and not approved, director sustainable environment and economy Shannon Burt also noted that ‘bedroom numbers are not recorded on Council’s electronic register and therefore have not been included in the data’.

‘To capture this information each application would need to be individually reviewed by a staff member, a task that is not resourced to be done,’ she wrote.

According to the figures, 404 developments were approved in 2017. In 2016, 432 and in 2015, 406 DAs were approved. In 2014 there were 341 approvals. In 2013, 229 DAs were approved while 316 were approved in 2012.

By way of comparison, 150 secondary dwellings were approved in 2017 (rural and urban), indicating an increase since 2012, when only 63 were approved; 161 secondary dwellings were approved in 2016, with 115 of them urban.

Throughout the years from 2012 to 2017, the majority of those approvals were in urban areas, according to the data.

Ballina booming

In Ballina there are currently 3,000 lots coming up, according to Mayor David Wright .

‘We’ve got a lot of residential land for sale,’ he told The Echo.’ 

At Ballina Heights, approval for 633 lots is currently before the courts. ‘It has been 20 years in the planning,’ Wright said.

‘People want to come here,’ he said. ‘I want to make sure we’ve got plenty of amenities that people want.’

Remarkably Wright says, ‘You have to apply to be part of a ballot to get a lot at Lennox Meadows Estate’.

‘You are offered it or if you don’t want it, that’s your decision,’ he said.

‘We want to provide jobs and facilities like surf clubs, the new basketball stadium and the Wollongbar sportsfield that has just been announced,’ he added.

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