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February 5, 2023

Council imposes development restrictions on Linnaeus

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The plan to rezone part of Broken Head’s Linnaeus Estate in a bid to prevent further development proposals on the site has taken a step forward, with Byron councillors unanimously supporting the move.

The vote, at last week’s Council meeting, follows years of controversy over the precious 110-hectare site, including considerable animosity between the owners of the site and those who object to their plans.

‘I’m looking forward to the day when I never have to hear the word Linnaeus again,’ Mayor Michael Lyon told last week’s Council meeting at which he moved the rezoning motion.

‘It’s got such a history and so much contention and so much to it. And it’s time to draw a line under it.’

With the motion passed, Council will now begin the process of rezoning part of the site from SP1 Mixed Use to a C4 Environmental Living Zone.

This would be done with the aim of ensuring that ‘no additional development can be undertaken on the site other than the existing approved land uses’.

The rezoning involves multiple steps, including applying to the NSW Department of Planning and Environment for a gateway determination. 

‘I want to push forward with getting this mix-used zoning removed because SP1 is the type of zoning that you can drive a truck through,’ Cr Lyon said.

‘At the moment you can build a Westfield [shopping centre] on that site as I understand it. It’s not an appropriate zoning and it needs to go.’

Earlier in the meeting a representative of the owners of the Linnaeus Estate, Steve Duchen, provided some much-needed clarity about their future plans.

Responding to questions from councillors, Mr Duchen said that Linnaeus would have 33 separate accommodation dwellings on the site, with a capacity for up to 112 people. 

Twelve of those dwellings would be solely for eco-tourism purposes, while the remainder would be part of a Community Title development.

‘That [Community Title area] would basically be about private residences in conjunction with the existing private education zoning,’ Mr Duchen said.

Mr Duchen also took the opportunity to respond to those who had publicly criticised the owners of Linnaeus.

‘Despite being the regular target of accusations within certain quarters of the Byron community, we have always followed best practice and the gold standard with our facilities on site, and in particular our waste water and water treatment facilities,’ Mr Duchen said.

‘We’ve also led the way in Broken Head, unlike our objectors, by committing 50 hectares to a biodiversity conservation agreement. 

‘I am fully in support of the downzoning proposal’.

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