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Byron Shire
March 26, 2023

Developer refuses to reduce height, design of large Bruns DA

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Developer Sasha Hopkins is also behind a number of development applications (DAs) around Butler Street in Byron Bay. Photo www.au.news.yahoo.com.

Paul Bibby

A controversial dual occupancy development proposed for Brunswick Heads looks set to be rejected by Byron Council, after council staff changed their advice, and recommended refusal.

The owner of 16 Short Street, a Melbourne-based property developer, is seeking permission to demolish the existing single-storey cottage on the site and replace it with two large, double storey townhouses, each with five bedrooms and five bathrooms.

130 objections

More than a 130 local residents have formally objected to the proposal, arguing that it is out of character with the surrounding dwellings owing to its size, which exceeds height plane rules for that part of town.

They also fear that, rather than becoming two family homes as claimed by the developer, the development will be used as a quasi boarding house or an ‘Airbnb motel’.

The immediate neighbours also argue that the proposed dwellings would significantly overshadow their properties.

When the matter first came before Council last November, councillors voted unanimously to defer the matter pending further investigation by staff into the height plan encroachment, and shadowing impacts on neighbouring properties.

This was despite staff recommending that the development should be approved.

Having undertaken these investigations, Council staff have now recommended that councillors issue a refusal when the matter comes before them at this week’s planning and development meeting.

A staff report issued as part of the meeting agenda says that shadow diagrams recently submitted by the developer indicated that the proposed development would overshadow the house next door.

This was despite the fact that the diagrams ‘did not appear to show the full extend of the overshadowing created by the two dwellings’.

‘Options to further reduce the impact have not been taken up by the applicant in terms of amending the design as suggested [by Council at the November meeting],’ the report says.

‘This could have included a reduction in the width of the building on the first floor by up to a metre to provide for increased setbacks to the eastern boundaries to address this issue.’

The impact on the neighbouring property was further exacerbated, staff said, by the fact that Council had recently approved a second house there, which would experience significant overshadowing.

The report also noted that the developer had refused to reduce the height or design of the property to minimise the extent to which it breached building height plane rules.

Staff concluded that ‘the proposal on review is considered to generate unreasonable impacts on the neighbouring development’ and had ‘not adequately addressed the resolution in terms of amending the design of the development to provide for better compliance with the building height plane and to lessen impacts on the immediate neighbour to the east.

‘In the circumstances it is recommended the development application be refused.’

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