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Byron Shire
September 28, 2021

Byron developer: ‘You think we’re all millionaires!’

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Byron Council has approved a multi-dwelling development in Byron Bay following an impassioned plea from the property developer.

Residents living next to the property at lot 14 Bangalow Road objected to his plan for five small, detached dwellings on the grounds that it would impact their privacy, create flood risks and bring holiday letting to their quiet enclave.  

At a site inspection immediately prior to Thursday’s planning meeting they added claims of soil contamination to the list.

This claim led councillor Cate Coorey to propose a motion requiring the owner to undertake soil testing prior to having his development approved. 

For the developer of the property, Sam Kanjo of the KanjoGroup, the contamination claims appeared to be the final straw, coming after a long and protracted application process which had seen him significantly reduce the size and scale of his plans.

‘We advertised this DA twice for a total of six weeks and not once did they [his neighbours] bring up anything about contamination,’ Mr Kanjo said.

‘And now, without any evidence, and on the day of this meeting, they bring these claims.’

He told councillors that they were simply responding to ‘negatives from people who object to everything’.

‘You just think we’re all millionaire developers,’ he told councillors.

‘What’s really, really annoying is that when these people [the neighbours] purchased their land they could have purchased this site and kept it as their own backyards. Instead they said, ‘no, we’ll just use it as our own and then object if anyone else tries to do anything’.’

Cr Coorey defended her motion, saying that the proposed development was right next to a fragile coastal wetland site that needed to be protected.

‘All I’ve asked for is for a site inspection,’ she said.

‘Do you consider that a study to determine the quality of the soil where there was allegedly building rubble in the past is unreasonable?’

But Mayor Simon Richardson said the council needed to ‘look at what’s in front of us in a fair and reasonable way’.

We need to avoid just listening to the cheer squad and seeking to avoid being smashed by those who have their own reasons to smash us.’

‘Who here has got an extra $100k to burn because of someone’s four-second thought bubble?’

Cr Coorey’s motion was defeated and an alternative motion, adopting the staff recommendation to approve Mr Andreou’s plans, was passed by seven votes to one.

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  1. Why did the owner bring up the sentence ‘You just think we’re all millionaire developers,’ when no one has ever had a thought bubble in that direction and just thought about protecting the environment?

    • Emily .. serirously .. you ask that … he clearly said it because people all think that these investors have millions to spend .. and maybe he doesnt .. its probably all borrowed from a bank. And as for the environment .. i am assumng ll the people around who have already built their houses issue free are suddenly born again environmrntalists. And quite happy to make someone else pay $100k for a full inspection and test of soil. How about they all have tests to ensure they are all protecting the environment which they see as very important.

  2. I think the price tag on 5 cabins and associated infrastructure will run well into the 1 million dollar mark. So yes you are a millionaire developer.

  3. On the one hand the council worries about housing affordability, on the other hand they worry about holiday letting. The more houses, for a given proportion of holiday letting (assuming it’s not 100%, which it wouldn’t be), the more supply there will be. The more supply, the more affordable the housing, all other things being equal. But no, the laws of economics don’t apply in your hippy dippy Newtown with a Beach enclave.

  4. Adjoining residents have been mowing and maintaining sections for decades to create buffers due to the overgrown grass. This doesnt entitle them to use the land as their own, which they haven’t, however their concerns about having the raised development creating privacy issues is valid. A 1800mm fence provides little privacy with a neighbour who has to build 900mm abive the ground.


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