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Byron Shire
March 31, 2023

Neighbours of Mullum Hospital site seek up-zoning

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The proposed upzoning boundary adjustment. Image supplied.

Should a handful of properties neighbouring the old Mullumbimby Hospital be included in the rezoning of the site, so that they can share in the benefits of the new R1 zone?

This is the question to be debated at this Thursday’s Council meeting. 

Greens councillor, Duncan Dey, will move a motion proposing that the plan to redevelop the hospital should be effectively expanded, to consider the interests of four properties located to the south.

‘This [rezoning of the hospital site] implies housing density and height that differs greatly from the neighbours to the south,’ Cr Dey said.

‘Such development is likely to overshadow those neighbours.

‘An equitable way of sharing the burdens and the benefits of development is to examine precincts rather than just properties. Recognising cross-boundary impacts south of the ex-hospital site points towards a zone boundary as proposed in this motion.’

Cr Dey said the benefits to the broader community of including the four properties in the rezoning was the additional housing that they would then be able to provide.

However, Council staff do not support the move.

In written comments on Cr Dey’s motion, Council’s Director of Sustainable Environment and Economy, Shannon Burt, said incorporating four private lots would ‘complicate and significantly delay’ the rezoning of the hospital site.

Staff unsupportive

‘Unlike the Mullumbimby Hospital site, these private lots are not serviced or within a current urban servicing plan. Significant work needs to be done on land and servicing capability, servicing augmentation, costs and sequencing, to convert the [neighbouring sites] to urban land before a decision can be made on what urban zone to apply.’

Ms Burt also said that, unlike the hospital site, the private lots had not been identified in the Affordable Housing Contributions Scheme, meaning that there was no guarantee that the rezoning would do anything other than increase the values of the properties by allowing them to subdivide.

Among a range of other potential pitfalls identified by Ms Burt was that the rigorous planning and assessment process that had already been undertaken in relation to the rezoning of the hospital site had not even begun for the neighbouring properties.

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