The developer, who has taken Byron Council to court over the Brunswick Heads boarding house project, has reportedly offered to revise its development application (DA), setting the scene for a possible negotiated approval with Council behind closed doors.
Oniva Pty Ltd’s plan to build a 39-room boarding house along with eight shops, a cafe and a co-working space in the town’s Bayside precinct has drawn strong opposition from neighbours. They say it is a major overdevelopment of the site that will result in severe parking, traffic and other amenity impacts for those living nearby.
When Byron Council did not immediately approve the application, Oniva rushed to the LEC to appeal the ‘deemed refusal’ of its plan. So keen was the developer to commence proceedings, that it initiated them before the 40-day deemed refusal period had expired, and was forced to reapply four days later.
On March 15, around a month after the proceedings were lodged, lawyers for the two parties met for a compulsory conciliation meeting.
Council declined to comment on what occurred at the conference, when asked by The Echo last week.
However, The Echo understands that during the meeting, Oniva offered a revised DA in a bid to gain approval from Council.
The hearing was then adjourned to March 29 so that the matter could come back before this week’s full Council meeting on Thursday.
At that meeting, councillors will decide whether or not to authorise General Manager Mark Arnold to negotiate conditional approval of the plan as part of the court conciliation process.
This approach of delegating authority to Council’s GM to negotiate an approval during preliminary court proceedings has been followed on a number of occasions in the past two years.
While it has involved significant reductions in the size and scale of proposed developments in some cases, in other cases, it has drawn the ire of neighbours because it effectively leaves them out of the final discussions over what will be built. When a developer such as Oniva puts forward a revised plan there is no public consultation. Instead the GM decides whether or not to proceed based on the instructions from councillors.
The development appears to be a joint project involving Oniva and The Kollective.