Byron Council staff have recommended approval of a contentious development application in Brunswick Heads, after the developer agreed to modify his plans.
The development application for a dual occupancy at 16 Short Street will come before this Thursday’s Council planning meeting.
The proposal is two large, double-storey houses, each with five bedrooms, five bathrooms and a pool.
Residents say that its size is unsuitable for both the block in question and the street more generally, that it exceeds council’s height plane rules, and will set a precedent that impacts on the entire town.
They also fear that, despite promises by the developer to the contrary, the proposal is intended to become a boarding house or defacto ‘Airbnb motel’, pointing to the large number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and electrical circuitry that would support two stoves, dishwashers and fridges in each house.
But council staff disagree with each of these arguments in their report.
They point to a range of modifications to the proposals made by the developer which have reportedly brought it up to standard.
These include, ‘Removal of external staircases to the first floor of each dwelling, increases to the side setbacks on the upper levels, removal of wet bars and cabinetry in secondary living areas, increasing the frontage setback to Dwelling 1 from 4.5m to 6.5m allowing greater private useable outdoor space, and increasing the front setback to the swimming pool from 1.0m to 1.75m in Dwelling1.’
‘The proposed development is largely consistent with the provisions of the Byron LEP 2014 and DCP 2014 other than minor variations to the building height plane controls being sought,’ staff said in the report.
‘The dual occupancy is unlikely to generate deleterious impacts on the built or natural environment and the site is considered suitable for the development.
‘The application is recommended for approval subject to conditions of consent.’
Crucially, in relation to concerns that the structures would effectively become boarding houses, council staff said the applicant has applied for a dual occupancy and not any other use and Council must assess the application based on the information as submitted.
But George Stinson, who lives next door to the proposed development, said this was a misinterpretation of the assessment process.
‘Council must assess a development based on the intended purpose of that development,’ he said.
‘If there is clear evidence, as there is in this case, that the intended purpose is for a prohibited use such as a tourist facility, then council should refuse the application.’