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Byron Shire
May 24, 2022

Hassle councillors, not Council staff

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The Echo’s article of 10 March implied that it was Council staff wanting to ‘raise the roof’ in Lawson Street. A planning proposal like this one (BSC ref 26.2017.6.1) only happens however by resolution of the elected

Council – councillors vote to do it.

One of the changes currently proposed is to the Shire’s LEP 2014 map of Maximum Building Height. The change applies to just two urban blocks, in Byron town centre, from the north side of Lawson Street northwards to Bay Lane. The east-west limits are Middleton and Jonson Streets.

This is not the first time this change has been proposed. It was considered when I was on Council in 2012–16 but was rejected, because in Australia an extra floor on the north side of an east-west street means that less sunshine reaches the street. It’s called the Canyon Effect.

Towns and cities all over the world have learnt to avoid creating canyons. If a town feels pleasant to visitors, they keep visiting. Make it ugly like the cities that visitors come from, and our businesses will fail.

Raising the height limit by 2.5m (from 9m to 11.5m) enables an extra storey. When the despicable 10 per cent extra that planning seems to love also kicks in, it’s a further 1.15m (3.75m total). The real height limit on future development

is then 12.65m above ground level.

Planning changes like this are insidious – most of the public only find out when there’s eventually a DA for a rebuild, three or four years after the LEP change was approved.

Council’s HaveYourSay is now closed, but councillors still have ears. Let them know that such changes towards a Gold Coast style town are unacceptable.

And how about Council pauses its over-development style, and lets this eternal question get tested in the ballot box in September?

Council, put yourself into caretaker mode!


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