Staff tinker with affordable housing village proposal

Fourteen year-old Mullumbimby High School student Orion Sturch snapped Mullum under water on his drone during Ex-Cyclone Debbie in 2017. 

Paul Bibby

At this week’s planning meeting, Byron Councillors will consider changes to the affordable housing village Council is planning to build in Mullumbimby.

Despite being a matter of considerable contention among locals, the proposal is intended to be an ‘innovative housing precinct that stands apart from traditional approaches’ that will be built on Council-owned land, next to the Mullumbimby Community Gardens.

The proposal has already been on public exhibition, but following a new flood study for the area, and a resulting ‘structure plan’, Council staff are suggesting a number of changes to the proposal.

The idea is that the revised plan will go back on public exhibition as part of the process of seeking ‘Gateway approval’ from the NSW Planning Department.

The amendments include provisions that would allow greater flexibility in relation to the lot sizes on the proposed development.

They will also include greater variation in the types of houses and other structures that can be built.

This is said to be necessary to meet the differing needs of those wanting affordable housing in the community.

In addition to the lot size and housing diversity changes, staff are also proposing changes in response to the recommendations of the recently released flood study.

Residential zoning expanded

Under these changes, a larger area of land would be given an R1 residential zoning.

There would also be an adjustment to maximum building heights to factor in the additional fill that will be needed to ensure the houses are not flooded.

The flood study found that a significant amount of fill would be required to ensure this. Much of that fill would come from the lots themselves, with the remainder being trucked in.

More detail on the Lot 22 plan and the proposed changes can be seen in the agenda for this week’s Council planning meeting.

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