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Byron Shire
July 13, 2024

Byron mayor seeks to retain secondary dwellings as permanent 

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Byron Shire Mayor Michael Lyon is seeking councillor support at this Thursday’s meeting for a staff report that could identify how to ‘constrain the future use of a secondary dwelling for the purposes of providing affordable and/or permanent accommodation’.

Within his motion in the upcoming October 12 agenda (available online), he says Council is ‘currently investigating multiple properties who have used their secondary dwellings for holiday letting in contravention of their consent conditions’. 

He wrote, ‘It seems that relying on the enforcement of consent conditions to achieve outcomes in this space is flawed. I wonder whether through a different mechanism, either a voluntary planning agreement (VPA), or some kind of external lease or contract, we could achieve the same aim’. 

In reply to the motion, and contained within the agenda, Shannon Burt, Director, Sustainable Environment and Economy, outlined the historical context where Council waived the requirement to pay section 94 and section 64 charges for secondary dwellings. 

She wrote, ‘The waiver was discontinued in 2018, as it was found to not be achieving its intended effect owing to matters such as short-term rental usage of the approved secondary dwellings instead of long-term rental usage’. 

Ms Burt referred to recommendation five by the Independent Planning Commission Advice Report on the Byron Shire Short Term Rental Accommodation Planning Proposal.

That recommendation reads, ‘The NSW government should give consideration to the legal and policy options and implications of encouraging a return of dual occupancy, and secondary dwelling properties to long-term rental, either by direct requirement, or via an incentive program, and support council in considering these matters.’ 

Staff to explore options 

Despite the mayor’s motion not yet being tabled and voted upon by councillors, Ms Burt wrote, ‘As such, staff will work on a report to one of the December meetings of Council on mechanisms to achieve a restriction on the use of secondary dwellings for the purpose of affordable and/or permanent rental accommodation, in exchange for a waiver or deferral of development contributions’. 

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  1. Any action that provides affordable and/or permanent accommodation’ is to be praised.

    Properties in the category where the Council now is investigating multiple properties that have used their secondary dwellings for holiday letting in contravention of their consent conditions. only benefits the owners and no one else.

    The council should crack down hard on these STRA owners if this is found to be true.

  2. The state government has hopefully now given Council some teeth. As well as enforcing the original provisions, it might be time to revisit waiving future development charges for secondary dwellings to encourage more housing availability.


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