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Byron Shire
May 10, 2021

Undesirable precedent claims from planning staff

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An luxury multi-dwelling DA for 255 Coolamon Scenic Drive has been refused by Council’s planning staff, based on creating an ‘undesirable precedent’.

Council staff confirmed that the wealthy applicant, School of Audio Engineering founder Tom Misner, has taken Council to court over the refusal and the matter was listed for directions on August 10.

Estimated to be worth $11m, the DA features a seven-bay car garage, a lift, cinema, gym, sauna, massage room and butler’s pantry. A separate music recording studio and accommodation is also proposed.

It comes just weeks after staff supported – and councillors contentiously approved – a DA for an exclusive restaurant on the scenic Scarabalottis lookout.

That Coolamon Scenic Drive property was subsequently listed for sale.

Mayor Simon Richardson was asked if the recommended refusal of Mr Misner’s DA by staff was good decision making, given it appears similar to the Scarabelottis DA, and whether he will he be seeking to improve process?

There is yet to be a reply.

Justifications

Planning staff member Ivan Holland, wrote in a June 19 letter to Mr Misner’s planning consultant, outlining a range of objections.

Mr Holland wrote that a recording studio was considered ‘light industry,’ which is prohibited in the zoning.

It was considered that the DA did not ‘further the zone objectives relating to primary production and minimising land use conflict, and may result in an adverse impact on scenic quality of the locality owing to the large scale and prominent location’.

Mr Holland concluded by stating that the DA is ‘not in the public interest and would create an undesirable precedent… allowing excessive residential development of primary production land’.

Council’s chief planner, Shannon Burt declined to explain how the refusal could be considered consistent and equitable, when the two DAs are compared.

She only replied ‘the reasons for refusal are set out in the [June 19] letter’.


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