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Byron Shire
May 9, 2021

Policy not ‘housekeeping’

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According to a report in The Echo (24 March), the planning staff’s proposed amendments to LEP 2014 include a blanket prohibition on secondary dwellings on all MOs and CTs.

This is NOT a minor ‘housekeeping’ amendment. Presenting it as part of a bundled ‘housekeeping review’ is misleading and unprofessional.

In the context of the severe housing crisis for local workers and some of the highest rates of housing stress and homelessness in NSW that characterise Byron Shire this proposal should have been highlighted to ensure it was based on reasonable grounds and that the claimed grounds were subject to extensive examination and discussion by both the community and the elected councillors.

In my view, there is no sensible basis for any blanket prohibition and the imposition of one would further exacerbate the existing critical shortage of affordable housing – an inhumane disaster.

Each property in this area (and especially each MO or CT property) is unique. The suitability of any site for the inclusion of a secondary dwelling ought to be open for rational consideration. In the context of the housing crisis we face, and the environmental pressures that suggest a move to smaller footprint dwellings is broadly desirable, I would instead support an amendment to LEP 2014 to impose a presumption that secondary dwellings ought to be permitted on all properties unless there is a particular sensitivity surrounding a given site.

I am a strong supporter of a requirement that all applications for secondary dwelling construction be subject to a condition that the secondary dwelling NOT be holiday let (or a substantial contribution to a ‘public housing fund’ be made ). Those undertakings should be enforceable and serious fines payable for breach – so that any ‘enhanced profit’ a landholder makes from illegal holiday letting of secondary dwellings can be channelled into a public housing fund.

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