Byron Shire Council is looking to urgently review the zoning on 108 hectares at West Byron following investigations by staff into the development applications (DA) that are currently with the Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP). The successful motion was carried at Byron Council’s October meeting and calls for a review that takes into account the environmental attributes and constraints of the area and what development would be suitable.
The DAs have been strongly opposed by the Byron Shire community with more than 4,000 objections submitted against the proposal, the largest amount submitted for any development in the Shire.
‘As part of Council’s assessment of the DAs, staff have confirmed there are significant environmental constraints relating to this land including:
• Potential acid sulphate soils
• Flood prone
• High environmental value vegetation
• Koala and threatened flora and fauna habitat,’ said Byron Shire Mayor, Simon Richardson.
‘To overcome these constraints the DAs rely on extensive site modifications including significant amounts of fill, removal of and impact on sensitive habitat and engineering solutions to handle flooding, drainage and traffic.
‘What cost will this have on land that is zoned for environmental protection?
‘As a result of the intense investigations by staff it is evident that we need to urgently review the zoning on the land in the West Byron Urban Release Area to make sure that any development is sustainable and complements the sensitive environment.’
The Mayor has acknowledged that the land is privately owned and people have a right to develop this land but the development has to be appropriate. However he says that ‘the two proposals for more than 650 housing blocks is simply not acceptable for a wide range of reasons.’
‘The Byron community has said loud and clear that this land is significant and important to them and Council, and the NSW Government, should respect this,’ Mayor Richardson said.
Council staff are now looking into the rezoning of the West Byron Release Area and will prepare a report for the Council meeting on 22 November.