Bay Lane ?restaurants?may face hefty fees

By MEGAN KINNINMENT

THE OPERATORS of nine illegal restaurants will have to pay as much as $150,000 to gain legal status, warned Byron Bay Council yesterday.

Council Planning Director Ray Darney yesterday said the small restaurants in Bay Lane only had approval to operate as takeaways.

They face hefty fees to convert to restaurants.

"In some cases they could be looking at costs of between $100,000 and $150,000 (to convert to restaurants)," Mr Darney predicted.

The food outlets, operating in the lane behind the Beach Hotel, will be issued with compliance breach notices and then have 28 days to respond, Mr Darney said.

Those that do not have the council's approval to operate as seated restaurants would have to convert to their takeaway status and then lodge a development application to operate as a restaurant.

However, Mr Darney said to gain a restaurant approval they would have to apply for additional sewerage entitlements and pay hefty car-space fees of $40,000 per 7.5 square metres of floor space.

The process for approval could take anywhere from six to 12 months as the council has yet to finalise what sewerage capacity will become available with the upgrade of the West Byron Sewer- age Plant due for completion later this year.

"Their DA applications may not be able to be processed until next year," Mr Darney said.

"We will try to be compassionate and rational.

"But there are equity issues in- volved here. Some of their neighbouring restaurants around the corner have paid their due fees." What do you think?

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