Mullumbimby residents have been shocked to learn that a large two-storey home was approved by Byron Shire Council staff despite it breaching Council’s own planning guidelines.
A 28-signature opposing petition, and submissions against by every adjoining neighbour, were submitted to staff. Residents say their concerns were largely ignored.
Affected resident Mat Gulliford claims the process lacked transparency; he was not notified of the DA in the first place, nor was he able to view or contribute to conditions such as privacy.
The large home at 29 Corella Cres was approved by staff last week, despite it breaching Council’s height plane limit and blocking solar access to the southern property.
Staff told another affected neighbour they have discretionary powers to approve or reject DAs regardless of united opposition or lack of adherance to their own planning policies.
Mat Gulliford told The Echo, ‘While I am aware that Council’s planning department is extremely busy, there seems to have been an overall lack of transparency and poor communication regarding some of the specific details of the DA that directly affect the adjoining neighbours.’
‘We would like Council to review the plans with more careful consideration of all the factors that have been presented in objections from those directly affected by the development.
‘After residents met with the planner assessing the DA, an amended DA was presented that demonstrated solar access would be blocked for the southern neighbour. Additionally the height plane limit still exceeded Council’s DCP.
‘We don’t know the exact amount the height plane limit has exceeded as the planner’s manager won’t release the plans for us to check.
‘As privacy is the main issue, the planner requested long-term screens are put on the balcony facing us.’
Gulliford said the conversation with the planner was ‘vague’ regarding privacy.
‘If the house is built, we wish to negotiate these privacy screenings in more detail. We have not been notified of any specific conditions regarding privacy or had the opportunity to discuss how any particular privacy conditions would impact on our property since this conversation.’
He added that property owners on Corella who face the park were not allowed to build two-storey houses. ‘We bought our houses not knowing that Council would all of a sudden allow two-storey houses to build behind us in the new land release.’
The DA applicants Sally and Andrew Scott have been contacted for comment.
Neighbours have told The Echo that attempts to meet to discuss concerns with them were unsuccessful.
The Echo’s editor is an impacted neighbour.