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Byron Shire
June 20, 2024

Residents critical of plans to expand rural dwellings

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Main Arm residents are calling for councillors to scrap their plans to expand rural housing on Multiple Occupancies (MOs) and Rural Community Title (CTs), owing to poor process and it being ‘not in keeping with the original ideals of Multiple Occupancy Living’. 

In a submission to Council, they wrote, ‘We strongly believe that changes to planning controls should follow due process, including impartial, evidence-based Council reports and inclusive community consultation. Planning Proposal 26.2022.1.1 does not align with these views, and we cannot support it’. 

MO and CT structures allow land to be managed by a consortium of landowners, and were established as a home ownership entry point for low- to medium-income earners. In 2021, Tweed Shire removed rural land sharing communities options, after MOs were found to be moving toward more traditional residential housing.

With submissions sought by Council around allowing additional dwellings on MOs and CTs, Main Arm Rural Residents Association (MARRA) supplied The Echo with their feedback.

No affordable housing guarantees

MARRA write, ‘The amendments cannot guarantee an increase in affordable housing, and no evidence is given to support this outcome. It is worth noting that developers can and do use the housing affordability crisis to their own advantage’.

Justification in the staff report for opening up rural development was also criticised, with MARRA saying ‘there was no community consultation or detailed information made available to residents affected by these changes at that time’.  

‘Many residents are still recovering from [the flooding] disaster and repairs are ongoing nearly five months later. 

‘Main Arm has a substantial number of Multiple Occupancy (MO) and Community Title (CT) sites. It is pre-emptive to proceed with this amendment decision before all government flood reviews are complete’.

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  1. So we are in a housing crisis, I know some friends who live on an MO and their children have no where to live, they are living in caravans, sheds and illegal dwellings. They work in local cafes, shops, farms and other businesses.

    This sounds like a great idea to let the next generation of families legally live in a second dwelling on their MO, its not a freebie, they still need to lodge a DA for the dwelling, build the thing and do it properly. Are these the ‘developers’ you are talking about? To me, that is affordable housing!

    I bet a bunch of the objectors have illegal dwellings on their properties, what is wrong with families trying to do things by the book and legalise a legitimate housing. I also bet most of the objectors have a house over their head.

    To the objectors – why does every single housing proposal need to be labelled ‘affordable housing’ ? Additional housing of any kind is going to increase affordability, yes there should be also deliberate affordable housing but not every proposal needs this label. Seems like another way just to slow things down and oppose anything….

  2. Dear Mick
    The whole MO will only be allowed one second dwelling whereas the devlopers’ favourite— the CT can have one per title. This is because MOs only have one title
    This is what Sam Tarrant of Council,who is managing the proposal, has said:-
    The amendment will enable each lot within a rural CT site to submit a development application for a secondary dwelling or dual occupancy. Community title statements/consents may have to be amended first to remove the restriction of one dwelling per lot where applicable. Each lot would have to demonstrate it has the capacity for the additional dwelling including waste, bushfire, environmental constraints and that it meets the relevant controls within Byron LEP and DCP. A doubling of each approved dwelling is the theoretical maximum.
    This does not enable additional dwellings on MO sites. MOs can convert to a CT and then would be able to have each lot assessed for additional dwellings as described above
    I believe this will lead to overdevelopment on CTs and there is unlikely to be any affordable dwellings
    Mick why don’t you move to somewhere there are lots of hoses instead of destroying our beautiful shire with development.?

    • If an MO wants to stay as a MO, it can’t go for the second dwelling under this proposal, but the MO can apply for a CT conversion to benefit from the additional dwelling, and bring the property into compliance with things like bushfire access and wastewater, which is a good thing.

      Few points:

      – so its OK for properties to keep on building illegal dwellings with illegal wastewater systems but not OK for people to legitimise a second dwelling? because that is what is happening right now for families trying to house their children and friends who are locals and who work in local businesses….more illegal dwellings on the way then. I know a town planner who is contacted weekly about correcting illegal dwellings, there are probably hundreds in the shire.

      – the character impacts you raise are not really in perspective, rural properties can build multiple metal sheds on their property without a DA, and it happens all the time, every week a new shed pops up, this far out numbers potential second dwellings on CTs, which have to also be DA approved and address rural character controls.

      – where is your assumption that it won’t offer any affordable dwellings? this allows for dwellings to be constructed on existing approved lots, to provide immediate housing. Social housing is a completely different matter and should not be used as an excuse to stop ALL new dwellings if they are not social housing. Additional supply will help with demand and put a house over peoples heads.

      – you reference the CT developers, yes everyone who does a DA is a developer, so I don’t know what you mean by that.

      Let me guess, you live in a house? Seems like houses are useful things!


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