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Byron Shire
March 20, 2023

Small daytime cafe proposed for Scarrabelotti’s Lookout

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Scarrabelotti’s Lookout photo from DA 10.2019.103.1

A ‘small daytime cafe’ restaurant at a cost estimated at $1.4m is proposed adjacent to Scarrabelotti’s Lookout, a popular visitor destination with commanding views of the Shire in Coorabell.

A reader alerted Echonetdaily to the DA, and said the plans would ‘effectively turn public land… at Scarrabelotti’s Lookout into a car park and the only access driveway for the restaurant’.

‘This land is zoned rural and the developer is seeking setback exemptions to fit on to steep land’, they added.

The lookout is so popular that Council staff have placed rocks to limit the parking in recent months. Camping at the location has been an ongoing issue, with rubbish and faeces a problem.

The DA comes with a voluntary planning agreement (VPA) with the applicant to use the public road as access to the restaurant. The VPA proposal includes construction of a widened sealed driveway on the road reserve and formalised car parking for nine spaces. ‘Of these, seven will be attributable to the proposed restaurant’.

Subs close April 17

Public exhibition for the 40-seat restaurant closes April 17 and submissions can be made in writing: PO Box 219, Mullumbimby NSW 2482 or email [email protected].

While the DA proposes 17 car parking spaces (and five restaurant employees), minutes of a meeting between staff and the applicant states there would be 14 car spaces. Opening hours as stated on the DA would be Wednesday to Friday from 10.30am to 2.30pm and Saturday and Sunday from 7.30am to 2.30pm.

On February 6, 2019 Council staff replied to an email to the landowner entitled ‘RE Consent to use and Occupy Council owned land –  Scarrabelotti Lookout, Coolamon Scenic Drive, Coorabell’.

In the email, Council’s infrastructure planning co-ordinator ‘Recommended support for the the application subject to any further conditions that may arise from determination…’

The owners on the DA are listed as Byron Bay residents Paschal Grenquist, Yuuka Shibasaki and the General Manager of Council, owing presumably to the VPA.

The social impact statement says, ‘tourists will be a significant portion of customers’ to the restaurant and that ‘the proponent’s dwellings will be built on the land with access near James View Court. This will help with the management and surveillance of the public spaces’.

DA 10.2019.103.1 concept view

Land zoning and permissibility

As for land zoning and permissibility, the DA claims, ‘The subject land is zoned 7(d) Scenic Escarpment Zone pursuant to the Byron Local Environmental Plan 1988’.

‘The proposed land use is defined as a ‘restaurant’ pursuant to the Dictionary to the LEP, which is permissible with development consent within the 7(d) zone.

‘It is considered that the proposed variation to the 55m building line is reasonable (particularly given the topographic constraints of the site). In addition, the characteristics of the site and the proposed development are such that the development will not adversely impact road safety or intrude or dominate the streetscape’.

The social impact statement continues, ‘The landowner’s vision is to provide customers with a full service establishment so that they can enjoy a meal, drink and relax while taking in the amazing view’.

‘Several detailed meetings have been held with Council regarding gaining access to the site through the part of the road reserve that forms Scarrabelotti’s Lookout. Council sees potential benefit in working with the landowner to rejuvenate the Lookout and provide surveillance and security of this important public place. As such the road entrance, access road and car parking will be formalised and constructed as part of the development. It is planned to lodge a Voluntary Planning Agreement, in conjunction with the development application, to formalise the Lookout rejuvenation and sharing arrangements with Council.

The proposed restaurant intends to interface the Lookout to provide surveillance and a sense of activity rather than just utilise the road reserve purely to access the restaurant. The vision is that by rejuvenating the Lookout it feels more accessible and safer to the public, and less attractive to loiterers.

It is felt that with the business operating on almost a daily basis, opening early in the morning, will allow better ongoing surveillance of the Lookout, as well as being a natural deterrent to people looking to find a hidden camping spot overnight. Additionally, the landowners are soon to construct their approved dwellings on the land. This will add an important additional dimension to surveillance of the Lookout outside business hours’.

‘It is hoped that having an operating business will also help in controlling of the illegal dumping of garbage at the Lookout and in neighbours’ bins. It will be in the interest of the business to keep the Lookout rubbish free as this will be its “public face”. Council is yet to commit to placing rubbish bins on the lookout but as the development moves forward the landowner will continue discussions with Council.

‘A locked gate will be provided to restrict access outside operating hours’.

As for the affect the development would have on the current lookout, the social impact statement says,’The formalised car spaces, with kerb and guttering, will ultimately reduce the available area of where camping cars can park. At present 17 car spaces are proposed, eight of which are on the restaurant land. These eight spaces will have a locked gate outside operating hours. The other 9 are on the road reserve proper. The other three spaces are shown as indicative only, and Council is yet to decide if it is appropriate to include those car spaces’.

DA 10.2019.103.1 plans

Dilapidated lookout

‘Scarrabelotti’s Lookout is in a dilapidated state at present, occupied most often as an illegal camping ground. The bulk of the rubbish and faeces from the camping end up on the subject land. The landowner also reports of illegal trespassing and squatting on a regular basis. At present the campers only utilise the Lookout as it feels like an abandoned wasteland where they will not be disturbed or likely to be fined by Council’s rangers.

‘As stated above, the rejuvenation of the lookout and the activity of the adjacent restaurant will make the area look “well loved” reducing the chance of nuisance, harm or crime in and around the Lookout.

‘Additionally, the proponent’s dwellings will be built on the land with access near James View Court. This will help with the management and surveillance of the public spaces’.

Neighbour response

Views of neighbours are included within the DA, and one claiming to be one of the closest says, ‘As much as we’d love to play chess and have coffee and brekky nearby, I would like to point out a few possible negative aspects of this development that you or council may not have considered’.

‘Garbage – Just down the hill from the lookout is the entrance to James View Court marked by a row of garbage bins. Our bins get mysteriously filled up sometimes which we guess comes from illegal campers just up the hill at Scarrabelottis Lookout. With the proposed wider and paved entry plus 20 nicer parking spacesI think we can safely expect the bin problem to worsen. We sometimes put locks on our bins which is incredibly inconvenient for us.

‘Security – Your letter says that the council sees potential benefit by it providing surveillance and security of this important public place. But the restaurant will only be open in the morning, supposedly, while most of the illegal camping activities occur at night.

‘Illegal Camping – a) Illegal camping is areal issue at the lookout. At the moment it’s a push to get more than three campers into the location, but your proposal is to widen the road to 6m and pave it allowing for larger and more vehicles to enter. Some months ago someone, perhaps the council (I don’t know), situated several large boulders to inhibit the entry of more camping vehicles. This proposal does the opposite. It widens the road and invites even more. Your drawing shows the addition of 20 parking spaces! I can guarantee you that they will be consumed by camping vehicles overnight instead of the odd annoying 4 vehicles. At the very least they may commandeer some of your parking spaces. b) For all the reasons the council prohibits camping at that spot this development will only encourage more of it. We spoke to the council about this problem and they don’t have the manpower to police it.

‘If all these issues did not exist, it could be neat having a small cafe nearby with such a nice view’.

The DA is listed at https://datracker.byron.nsw.gov.au/masterviewui-external/application/ApplicationDetails/010.2019.00000103.001/

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  1. Coorabell resident. The most overwhelming issue in my mind is safety. That intersection is a complex one. The main road has traffic at high speeds which need to rapdily deaccerelate in order to turn
    This DA will introduce a build up of traffic, sightseers not mindful of traffic, greater ingress and egress of traffic from the lookout with a busy main road to contend with. It sounds like a total catastrophe in the making.
    No one wants to see an accident. This DA needs to be withdrawn immediately for this reason alone.
    Are the owners on the DA willing to take full responsiblity for accidents that ensue at that intersection? If not, why not? ‘Not your fault’ ?

    As our local resident kindly noted – ‘loiterers’ and campers take place in the night hours. when the cafe is well and truely closed. The DA will bring the campers greatly improved infrastructure, but otherwise the cafe will do nought to prevent them. And what about burglary?

  2. The owners are being opportunistic. Nothing wrong with that. They see people congreating – they want to sell them food and coffee. That’s fine. But lets call it what it is. Lets stop this typical DA doublespeak dressing up a pig with lipstick ‘ Well we want to get rich. But we won’t say that on the DA. Lets talk about ‘social vision’ and ‘improving the landscape’
    I hope all Byron Shire residents get behind the force of opposition required for this D.A. Because – car accidents

  3. I think this is a great initiative. Even though some nearby neighbours complain about their bins being used by illegal campers and furthermore, that extra camping spots are actually being created by the DA….they aren’t reading with their eyes (with their hearts maybe). I think we can be 100% sure that council will install and service garbage bins (problem number 1 solved) and a locked gate will be installed to stop illegal camping (problem number 2 solved). In fact the gate solves the bin problem too cause if no one is camping then no rubbish is being generated. It is a wonderful location but neglected and unloved – put in a low impact cafe and voila! I can’t see a down side when I read this article with my eyes.

  4. A 24 hours preferably locally designed and serviced dry composting toilet would be a decision of a truly green council as a solution of the poo on this sacred Dreaming Track mountain. None of this planning acknowledges human physiology. Same with Butler Street Reserve. The Ballina council had to put a portaloo at The Killen Falls carpark for the same reason.People traveling in cars, especially with kids, need to go to the loo. A council which splashes on flashy statues surely could do with a few bucks for what should be a health and environmental minimum for public reserves and carparks.

  5. A $1.4 million development means the cafe is more a restaurant.
    Even a home in bustling Sydney is worth less than this “cafe”. If this development is successful then we may have a McDonalds and a KFC and that then says the view is secondary to the food to be bought there, then maybe a K-mart supermarket. How big the car park then? Well more roads.

  6. A D.A. to clean up the lookout, and install bins and a gate to prevent overnight stays. What a great idea!
    There’s some kind of mix up in the application, though – looks like the D.A. got mixed up with something else – something about a cafe? Well, we know it’s a dangerous road, plus people not driving to conditions, and tourists unused to rural driving. We certainly know we don’t need heaps of careless tourists mixing it up with local traffic, gawking at the scenery instead of the windscreen – all converging on the one spot – pulling in, pulling out, plus all the locals wanting to have a new ‘private’ cafe for themselves. It could really get SO popular, traffic highly concentrated all within about 4 hours right when locals are doing the most driving. Accidents would definitely happen. Sounds like a total disaster. Better get the Council to correct the D.A. and offer some kind of apology for the mix up with the cafe thing. LOVE your gate & clean up proposal, though! Good work.

  7. 9 car parking spaces outside the locked gate. So what’s the point of all the waffle about ‘social vision’ – this D.A is creating more opportunity for campers!! 9 car spots MINIMUM is a huge improvement on existing site.
    How long until the site is listed in Lonely Planet guidebooks and on travel websites as a free option for overnight stays?

    For this proposal to be taken seriously all talk of reducing overnight stays via the D.A, needs to be scrubbed from the application.

    For the many locals and visitors submitting written opposition to this D.A, remember to include the following

    1. Owners of D.A. must personally fund a full ofifical traffic impact assessment by the relevant government authorities, including accident risk, and including variable of cafe becoming extremely popular – imagine tens of more vehicles coming from Mullum and from Bangalow, simaltaneously within the minimal hours of operation, fighting for carparking spots, parking on the side of the road when there are no spots, multiple vehicles tailgating and slowing down simaltaneously, while high speed traffic approachs from behind.

    2. Owners of D.A. must sign off on consenting to full legal and commercial liablity for any accidents that occur
    directly or indirectly related to this D.A.

  8. Dear ‘Owners’ of this Development Application
    This is a kind and thoughtful message, intended to support your quality of life.
    Here’s a thought experiment. Close your eyes and imagine every incident of opposition, resistance or obstruction you ever experienced, in your life. Now, multiply that feeling by a factor of 10. Now, multiply that by a factor of 100. Continue to multiply until it’s more opposition and resistance than you could possibly imagine could be experienced by one person in their lifetime. That, my dears, is just a taste of what is in store for you, if you proceed with this travesty against humanity and nature. You’ll be dreaming about us all night and thinking of us all day. This is our home. We will protect it.
    This is written with love to help you save your time, life and energy and wellbeing by wisely withdrawing your D.A. immediately and, instead, doing something useful with your time xxoo

      • So Jimmy, your sarcasm is noted. The sentiments of protecting ones home are too ‘heavy’ for you? Sorry if your fluffy fairy easy going cannabis-esque sensibilities are feeling threatened. You don’t think, a group of people feeling they have the right to impose their ill advised unintended consequences upon nature and residents, and the homes of animals and humans, deserves opposition? It’s okay for anyone to draft up a plan, submit it to the local authorities, and presto have it roll full steam ahead and be damned with anyone that gets underfoot? Did you read the D.A and not find it ‘heavy, man’ ?
        Good luck with your smart phone, vitmain-water, music videos, shoe gazing – and sarcasm. You’re going to need it.

  9. what a lovely spot to take your lover and watch the moon rise,would hate to see access to this spot removed because of a few campers,put in a bin and a compost toilet.

  10. So typically Byron Shire that the DA be dressed up to appear as if the proponent is helping the Community rather than just making money out of Community assets.
    My bet would be if the proposal got up it the so called ‘cafe’ would slowly morph into a full-time restaurant.
    Install a compost toilet and leave it as it is. Get the ranger to make regular night time visits to disperse the campers.
    On the spot fines etc

  11. I call upon everyone to protest this … proposal with all the energy we used to oppose West Byron. Please, please get your submissions in by the due date. We are relying on you, local, visitor – you can all see what this concept for destruction on public land represents. We need your written application of dissent.


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