A staff report is expected for the Council meeting on November 22 which will review the environmental attributes and constraints of the contentious West Byron urban release area and what development would be suitable.
It comes after a successful motion from the October Council meeting (Cr Hunter opposed, Cr Spooner absent) calling for the review.
Greens Cr Michael Lyon told The Echo that following a staff report, Council could ‘potentially lodge a change of zoning in the LEP that better reflects what the site can handle.’
‘This process will not affect the DAs before the JRPP currently; but it will mean if they fall over, any new DA would have to comply with the new zoning. It also will enable us to ask state representatives, ministers and shadow ministers to support the rezoning and show that they are truly listening to our community.’
He says the state government interference with West Byron land was ‘a blanket rezoning without reference to the many site-specific issues that have been long known.’
Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson said in a press release the land in the West Byron Release Area was well known to the community because of two development applications that are currently with the Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP).
He said, ‘To say that these DAs are being opposed by the community is an understatement with more than 4,000 objections received by the JRPP, the largest amount of submissions ever for a development in the Byron Shire.’
‘I acknowledge that this land is privately owned and people have a right to develop this land but the development has to be appropriate, and the two proposals for more than 650 housing blocks is simply not acceptable for a wide range of reasons,’ he said.
‘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 [land], high environmental value vegetation and koala and threatened flora and fauna habitat.
‘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?’
‘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.