A tiny house village providing homeless people with long-term housing and access to services would be set up in the Byron Shire, under a plan being pursued by Council.
Mayor Simon Richardson recently met with NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes to discuss the legislative changes needed to clear the way for the construction of the village on either Council or Crown land.
‘He was really open and receptive to what we were sharing [and] cognisant of Byron’s unique housing predicament,’ Cr Richardson said.
‘I think he recognised that this could be a pilot project that could pave the way for other similar proposals across the state.’
Cr Richardson said the village could provide three-to-five year tiny house leases for homeless people, as well as access to support services such as counselling and medical care.
They would be integrated with other groups, both advantaged and disadvantaged, to create a healthy, sustainable community.
Laws won’t allow
However, creating such a community is currently impossible because of the state’s planning laws.
‘If you’re looking at fixed tiny homes, they’re basically considered a permanent dwelling under the planning laws and so they can be very time consuming to get approved and then built,’ Cr Richardson said.
‘If it’s a tiny home on wheels then there are limits as to how long it can stay in a certain place and how many you can have in one place.’
Council is seeking an amendment to the Local Environment Plan (LEP) so that it includes provisions for its tiny house village development to occur, including eligible land and dwellings that can be included in such a project.
It is also seeking a commitment from the Planning and Local Government departments to form a working group with Byron Council that would look at how this type of development could be achieved more flexibly and permanently.
During the recent meeting, Minister Stokes asked Council to come up with a more detailed proposal for the tiny homes village and to include this in its local planning statement next year.