RETHINK: An artist's impresssion of the new three-storey mixed use development planned for Jonson St at Byron Bay.
RETHINK: An artist's impresssion of the new three-storey mixed use development planned for Jonson St at Byron Bay. Contributed

Developer determined to take community with him on new plan

FOLLOWING a storm of local controversy and rejection by the Northern Regional Planning Panel last year, a new draft plan for '139 Jonson'- a mixed use development for Byron Bay, is back for public viewing minus its contentious fourth floor.

The 2,835m2 (0.7 acre) site lies on the corner of Browning Street, and will be lodged with council by long term local Graham Dunn.

This time Mr Dunn seems determined to take on community input in formulating the final draft proposal to go to Byron Shire Council after September 6 this year.

He said they have spent the past nine months addressing local concerns about elements of the original design.

"We heard the concern" he said. "I believe we have now resolved the issues raised and so we are ready to share our new draft plans."

Other major changes to the plan include the loss of short term accommodation.

Instead, 34 permanent residential homes including studio, one, two, three and four bedroom homes are now proposed for the two levels of shop top housing.

These replace 26 serviced apartments and 24 permanent residential homes previously proposed.

"This is a 'build to rent' property," Mr Dunn said.

"It's built for rental as opposed to being built for sale. Byron Bay has a shortage of quality permanent rental accommodation. Our aim is to provide quality rental product to long term tenants. We won't be selling the apartments."

Now comprising two buildings set back from Jonson and Browning Streets with an open heavily landscaped courtyard and lane way between, the ground level would be home to a café or restaurant and commercial and retail space.

The 34 shop top permanent homes (including four accessible) would be on the two upper levels. Two basements would provide parking for 125 cars including 6 accessible and 2 electric with car charging, 14 motorcycle bays and 35 bicycle parks with electric charging.

"At the core of the design is and alternative planting modes" said project architect Jade Myers from Myers Ellyett Architects.

"Vine walls, podium planters, three storey green walls, deep soil and streetscape planting all with native and endemic species.

"The ground floor commercial area, for example, is set back underneath a deep awning and continuous timber pergola with climbing vines running along Jonson and Browning Streets.

"The courtyard and lane way have full height continuous timber screens which act as green vine walls with garden beds below."

Developers spokesperson said 139 Jonson's three blocks (incorporating 137 Jonson Street and 3 Browning Street) lie within the B2 Local Centre (town centre) zone.

"There are currently four dwellings across the blocks which have existing rights to be used as residential houses.

"In this zone it is not permissible, however, to build new dwellings. The zoning states that the ground floor must be of a commercial or business nature and residential accommodation must be "shop top" housing above.

"The zoning is consistent with the Final Byron Bay Town Centre Master Plan which states (pages 134 and 135): 'The south of Jonson Street should, over time, gradually transition into a mixed use district that supports medium density living and local business. By achieving this outcome a greater population of residents and workers can be located within walking distance of the village centre and the new Mercato Shopping development. In addition the economic vibrancy of the town centre can be better concentrated in and around the Village Centre ensuring a more compact and walk-able town centre environment'."


Three information sessions will be held later this month at Byron Bay Services Club. Session times are 9am and 10.15am on Thursday August 29 and 6.30pm on Friday August 30.

Mr Dunn said there would also be further opportunities for input when council undertakes their formal public exhibition period.

Bookings are essential. For info go to: or call 0290554641

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