A DA (development application) for 23 residential units, plus retail and hospitality outlets in Suffolk Park, is before the public until June 28.
It is located next to the existing commercial precinct on Clifford Street. The developer undertook consultation with immediate neighbours in November 2021, and while there were many in favour of the development within the consultation report, The Echo received feedback from neighbours that the DA relies on outdated flood levels, and could exacerbate traffic issues.
Up to 26 native trees are earmarked for removal, and consultants, paid for by the developer, claim the littoral rainforest is degraded and therefore not significant.
The site is located within a Byron Shire Council wildlife corridor network ‘which links up to Tallow Creek and associated estuarine and terrestrial habitat’. The area is also listed as an ‘Endangered ecological community’.
According to documents from DA 10.2022.137.1, the proposal is from Denwol Suffolk Pty Ltd, ‘a Sydney-based diversified property group owned by Phillip Wolanski’.
The engineering report proposes demolishing nine existing structures and constructing ‘two new three-storey buildings, incorporating seven townhouses, four units, twelve affordable housing units and 300m2 of commercial space. The subject site has a total footprint of 4,060m2’.
Within the community engagement report included in the DA, one resident said, ‘I’m dubious about affordable housing. The Byron community has had those assurances before, and it hasn’t come to fruition as promised’.
In reply, the developer’s representative said, ‘We have committed to allocating 12 of the 16 units in the building fronting Clifford Street to key worker housing. This will include a mixture of one, two and three bedroom units. The commitment is for a minimum of fifteen years in line with the legislation. The affordable housing units will be managed by a third party accredited affordable housing provider’.
According to www.nsw.gov.au, the metric for affordable housing is ‘generally up to 25 per cent below the price of similar homes in the area you’re looking to rent, or, set at no more than 30 per cent of your income before tax’.
Flooding and stormwater
As for stormwater management, the DA says, ‘All runoff from the roof and paved areas shall be directed towards Clifford Street to the south via a pit-and-pipe network’.
The Echo asked the developer’s media spokesperson if the DA relies on flood estimations that were in place previous to the recent floods, to which they replied, ‘Yes, the DA was prepared prior to the floods’.
The Echo also asked, ‘Has the developer been asked by Council to update the DA in accordance with the new 2022 levels?’
They replied, ‘We are not aware of any changes or proposed changed in flood planning however if/when these occur we will respond accordingly. The application is currently under assessment and Council can come back with more RFIs (requests for information)’.
As for increased traffic, the DA’s traffic report claims, ‘It believed that the proposed development would result in increases in traffic volumes onto Clifford Street of 28.05 trips/h (morning peak); 27.42 trips/h (afternoon peak) and 189.84 trips/ day (daily increase) respectively. In accordance with Clause 2 of Section B.2.14 of the DCP, this constitutes a “moderate” impact’.
When asked about sustainable building aspirations, such as water tanks and solar, the spokesperson replied, ‘The design incorporates solar panels and water tanks. The configuration of the apartments and townhouses maximise north orientation and cross ventilation. Careful selection of materials and fittings together with the primary focus on retention of existing mature native trees and new offset planting will all contribute to a reduced carbon footprint’.
A variation to Clause 4.4 – Floor Space Ratio of the BLEP 2014 and clause 17 of the State Environmental Planning Policy (Housing) 2021 (the Housing SEPP) is also sought by the developer.