The developer of the property at 139 Jonson Street has responded to the claims by the Browning Street Residents Group (BSRG) that the project is inappropriate in size, access and impact on the surrounding area.
A spokesperson for the developer said in an email to Echo Publications that cars accessing the buildings would travel only 35m of the 175m length of Ruskin Lane. ‘Traffic would go past the boundary of one property only, the seven-bedroom Byron Palms Guesthouse.
‘There are only two properties on Browning Street which are impacted by our development: 1 Ruskin Lane – The owner Annette Feletti lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and rents the property on Airbnb; and Byron Palms Guest House at 5 and 7 Browning Street.’
‘We have worked with these landowners for two years. We removed the fourth storey and the Child Care Centre that they were so against. We removed all short term accommodation. At a meeting with them on 25th July 2019 they thanked us for the engagement and said that their last concern was access which we said was beyond our control.’
Community consultation and feedback
The developer’s email says he listened to the community feedback through the community consultation process which included press advertisements, a letterbox drop to 725 neighbours, a site notice and a comprehensive website. ‘We held three different community information sessions at the Byron Services Club. Two of the six participants were representatives of Byron Palms Guesthouse.’
The developer says that to further investigate the access issue they engaged PlanIt Consulting to conduct an additional site access review. ‘PlanIt reviewed the access on Jonson Street and determined that it would be non-compliant with Byron Shire Council’s Development Control Plan 2014 for Commercial Development.
‘They state that it requires rear lane car parking where possible. Further, that there is insufficient space for the access as it would impact on the proposed new Bypass road alignment and pedestrian median for the Byron Bay Bypass currently under construction.’
Rear lane safer access point than Jonson Street
Some of the BSRG concerns are about the impact on Ruskin Lane – they estimate that there will be over 1,000 car and truck movements per day. They claim that it will create a dangerous situation for pedestrians due to limited site lines for pedestrians and vehicles and will have a detrimental impact on residents.
However, the developer says the rear lane is the safer option. ‘PlanIt say that the rear lane access is a safer access point than Jonson Street. Specifically, that utilising an existing lane access instead of creating a new access point across a high use pedestrian/cycle path is a safer and better outcome for the community and that the Jonson St access location creates safety concerns with its close proximity to a high use pedestrian crossing.’
‘We are required by Byron Shire Council’s Development Control Plan to have rear lane access,’ the developer said. ‘This is a safer pedestrian option as concluded in the PlanIt Report.’
Regarding the height limit, the developer says that only 5.8 per cent of the site is above the 9.0m height limit because of the slope of the site.
‘This development is the first in many years in the B2 commercial zone (Byron Town Centre) to provide for permanent residential accommodation with no holiday letting.’
The Development Application is currently on exhibition at the Byron Shire Council’s website.