Plans for another ‘affordable’ housing development in Mullumbimby have ended up in the Land and Environment Court, with the developer taking on Byron Council over its ‘deemed refusal’ of their proposal.
Development company, ‘The Kollective’, are seeking to build eight one-to-two-storey town houses at 28 Argyle Street, Mullumbimby.
They have made the application under the state’s affordable housing policy (SEPP 15), promising that at least one of the units will be rented at below market rates.
In return, The Kollective are seeking to take advantage of the special development exemptions available under SEPP 15 by increasing the floor space ratio of the proposed buildings and limiting the number of parking spaces available for future residents.
But Byron Council staff have recommended refusal of the project, describing it as ‘inappropriate in the context of the site,’ ‘out of character with the locality,’ and likely to result in ‘poor residential amenity’ for those moving into the homes.
Around 45 local residents also submitted letters of objection to the proposal.
According to the agenda for council’s planning meeting next week, The Kollective launched court proceedings prior to staff making this recommendation.
‘The applicant has commenced a Class 1 appeal in the Land and Environment Court against the deemed refusal of the application,’ council’s major projects planner Rob Van Iersel says in the staff report.
Mr Van Iersel indicated that the council’s concerns could be addressed through a redesign of the proposal that involved a reduction of floor space, building height and deck encroachments, and an increase in open space.
He suggested that council take part in a conciliation hearing with the developer as part of the court process.
The convenor of the Mullumbimby Residents Association, Dr Sonia Laverty, said she felt the legal action was ‘a bit of a stretch’.
‘I don’t think they’re serving the community with this proposal,’ Dr Laverty said.
‘We’re not opposed to it being built at all, we want some changes to be made so it’s more in keeping with the needs of the community.’
‘We think they can do better.’
The Kollective is the company responsible for another affordable housing development on Stuart Street Mullumbimby.
Some locals are now questioning whether that project deserved approval under SEPP 15 as the eight one-and-two-bedroom units have been advertised for $550 to $600 a week.
This is higher than both the median rent for a three-bedroom free-standing house in Mullumbimby (around $550) and a unit ($350).