Court to decide on housing project

FINAL submissions were heard on Friday over the Tallowood housing project in Mullumbimby.

Wrangling between developer Gainsplay Pty and Byron Shire Council over the development application for the site came to a head in February in the NSW Land and Environment Court.

The developer took the case to court when council said it was not satisfied that adequate arrangements had been made for sewage disposal.

Environment and planning manager, Ray Darney, said at the time that the sewerage system was the main obstacle to approval of the DA.

The developer had failed to get a particular licence for the sewerage scheme from the state authority, Mr Darney said.

However, Steve Connelly, planner acting for the developers, said he would be disappointed if the ruling went against his clients.

“This site has been zoned residential for 20 years. The sewage treatment plant was sized and built for it,” Mr Connelly said.

Byron Shire mayor Jan Barham said on Friday she was unhappy that the case had ever gone to court.

The developer had taken the action unnecessarily, she said.

“Byron Shire needs the development and the council gave it support, but we were interested in getting a better outcome for future development and for the adjoining residents,” Cr Barham said.

“I hope that good sense prevails and the commissioner can recognise the merit in our submissions regarding access and vegetation, among other things.”

Other issues include disagreement about a buffer zone between the existing residences and the new development.

Mr Darney said it was important to retain the existing buffer from both an ecological and a landscaping point of view.

People in the community also wanted clarity about the eventual size of the development, he said.

Commissioner Robert Hussey visited the area twice to view the Tallowood Ridge Estate, just off Left Bank Road.

He faced protests from local residents and the Mullumbimby Creek Progress Association, concerned that the project represented a development strategy ‘by stealth’, and showed no consideration of the community’s needs, one said.

People in the community also wanted some clarity about the eventual size of the development, he said.

Mr Connelly said there had been nine days of evidence given in the case.

“It will take Mr Hussey some time to sift through it all. I wouldn’t expect a ruling for a month or so,” he said.



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