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November 30, 2022

Wategos mansion breaches height limit

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44 Brownell Drive, Wategos Beach, Byron Bay elevations.

The owner of two neighbouring multi-million-dollar mansions being built at Wategos Beach could be forced to rebuild part of one of the houses, after illegally breaching height regulations for the iconic precinct.

44 Brownell Drive, Wategos Beach, Byron Bay.

According to a Byron Council report coming before this week’s planning meeting, the owner of 44 Brownell Drive illegally added an entertainment and amenities room to the roof-top pool area of the second mansion she is building, effectively adding a fourth storey to the dwelling. The two, three-storey mansions, part of a dual occupancy on the 839-square metre site, already boast a combined total of eight bedrooms, four carports, two swimming pools and six bathrooms.

When the height breach on the second house came to the attention of the private certifier involved in the development, the owner, Ms E L Cotton, elected to submit a development application to Byron Council retrospectively, seeking permission for the unauthorised building work.

But Byron Council staff have given this request short shrift, finding that the breach is inconsistent with the desired character of Wategos, and has the potential to impact the views and amenity of surrounding houses.

44 Brownell Drive, Wategos Beach, Byron Bay site.

The overall building height has increased to 9.879m, 9.4 per cent above the height limit for Byron Bay.

In a letter of objection submitted in relation to the retrospective application coming before Council this week, the Wategos Beach Protection Association (WBPA) said the repeated attempts to increase the height and scale of the house were part of a deliberate ‘methodology’.

‘In this case, we see a clear example of how overdevelopment of a site can be “gamed” by seeking and obtaining incremental breaches of various aspects of the LEP and DCP,’ the association’s Robin Ormerod said in the letter.

‘WBPA’s objection is particularly focused on the incremental methodology used in this type of development process. It is reminiscent of the colloquial expression: give them an inch and they take a mile.’

The matter will come before Byron Council for debate at this week’s Council planning meeting. 


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