[Note: The post below was posted in 2009, and as such may contain outdated information and links. The issue continues to be hotly debated in council chambers in 2013. OSCA members have not formalized an agreed position on this issue as of Oct., 2013. For further information see Council website: Holiday Letting in Byron Shire – it’s history – updated July 2009 & Councils (outdated?) FAQ. regards Jason Lasky, Vice President, Oct. 2013]
Byron Shire Council is currently (2009) inviting Feedbacks and Submissions to their “Proposed Byron Shire Holiday Letting Model”
OSCA summarizes its position (2009) as follows:
- OSCA does not support the proposed control of holiday letting in the Byron Shire through the complying development approval process outlined by Council and OSCA does not support the areas identified as proposed holiday letting localities as exhibited by Council.
- While we believe that holiday letting is a Byron Bay/Suffolk Park centric issue that has caused some grief & problems that need to be appropriately addressed, we strongly believe that Council’s current proposal is not the right solution. Summarized, it is extreme, unbalanced, unfair and economically irresponsible.
- Behavioural issues, the main reason for intended holiday letting restrictions, are not limited to holiday letting and as such the singling out of holiday letting is not justifiable.
- The argument regarding commercial activity in a residential zone is hypocritical. All form of letting and/or conducting business from home is a de-facto commercial activity. Again, singling out holiday letting is not justifiable.
- The intended creation of precincts is a legal minefield, as discrimination of excluded areas cannot be legally justified.
- Holiday letting as proposed by Council is furthermore way outside the template set by the state government, and as such stands very little chance to be introduced in the proposed form. We are saddened by the fact that Council has missed a chance to address this issue sensibly that would have opened doors to balanced solutions.
- The Council proposed PRECINCTS MODEL is intending to limit holiday letting to a very few areas in the Shire that cover some areas of Byron Bay as well as Brunswick Heads ONLY. Under this model, Suffolk Park, parts of Byron Bay, South Beach Rd (!) at Brunswick Heads, Ocean Shores, New Brighton, South Golden Beach, Fern Beach and the entire Byron hinterland covering towns like Bangalow, Mullumbimby and the rest of that Hinterland, would become a holiday letting prohibited area. Only in our area alone, decades old traditions and trades would be thrown into limbo with unimaginable consequences to the local lifestyle & business community, of which nearly all are small local businesses.
- The Council proposed COMPLYING DEVELOPMENT MODEL is still very much an undefined and incomplete grey area that is likely to finish off holiday letting where precincts may still exist. Council at this stage has not formulated a clear legislative concept in regard to its compliance model, but based on what has been circulated in principle, converting a building or unit to become BSC holiday let compliant may very well be un-economical in most cases.
- There are currently over 600 properties and units in the Shire that are holiday let, part or full time. About 60 or 10% of them are in Ocean Shores, New Brighton, South Golden Beach and Fern Beach. Their location is practically all east of the natural water divide (Brunswick River north arm up to Capricornia Canal) plus a cluster around the Country Club.
- While OSCA is in principle not supportive of the Precinct model, the above location definition could form part of a (forced) compromise agreement.
- Interestingly, in the Council Staff Report of the Ordinary Council Meeting of 12th June 2008 following statement was made (Agenda p34):
“Should Council revert to a precinct control…this can be easily incorporated into the draft LEP by an overlay map, but that would need to be extended to the following:
- Brunswick Heads Village (not Bayside)
- Areas of New Brighton and South Golden Beach.”
A clear staff assessment that “Areas of New Brighton and South Golden Beach” need to be included! We clearly ask: what happened to this much needed inclusion?
OSCA proposed (2009) solutions:
- OSCA certainly does not condone mismanaged holiday practices and seeks a balance that very much protects the continuation of the holiday letting practice while protecting residential amenity.
- Most of our traditional and decades old holiday letting is managed by competent local agents and we trust that safeguards have long been established to guarantee the harmonious integration of holiday letting in our area.
- OSCA supports any common sense initiatives that lead to further improvements of the process.
- OSCA certainly is sympathetic to a process that would lead to strong action against any property and its owners/managers where it can be proven that appropriate care to safeguard residential amenity of neighbours is not taken seriously.
- Until such time further measures are deemed essential, OSCA supports holiday letting in our area to continue in its current style.
- As such, we urge Byron Shire Council to abolish its intended precinct model. Should that recommendation fail, we would see the “East of dividing waters plus OSCC cluster” precinct compromise as a ‘minimum precinct inclusion zone position’ we would be prepared to vigorously defend.
- We also urge Byron Shire Council to abolish its complying development model either completely or propose a model where it can be demonstrated that complying costs are viable and minimal, with the onus on Council to prove they are.
- We furthermore urge anyone to list their support behind the well considered and justified efforts of the Brunswick Heads Chamber of Commerce (BHCC) and its Holiday Letting Committee to protect Brunswick Heads interests in the Holiday letting saga. For further information pls contact Kim Rosen 0412 316299.
- OSCA strongly urges everyone to get involved and protect common sense and local jobs by objecting to Byron Shire Councils regulatory model for holiday letting.
- May common sense prevail!
Should you need any further information or assistance regarding Holiday Letting in our local area pls contact Rene Thalmann, OSCA Executive Member and OSCA representative on Holiday Letting: email@example.com or 07 5475 2006 or 0408 803060
Formal SUBMISSION addressed to:
The General Manager
Byron Shire Council
Mullumbimby NSW 2482
Att: Graeme Faulkner, General Manager BSC
Copy: Ray Darney, Director Planning, Development and Environment Services
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Original mailed to BSC, PO Box 219, Mullumbimby NSW 2482
Dear Mr Faulkner
RE: SUBMISSION regarding “Proposed Byron Shire Holiday Letting Model”
Fax: 02 66843018
Mail: BSC, PO Box 219, Mullumbimby NSW 2482