Lennox investors win court ruling
AN application to allow permanent residents at 10 of the 14 units at the Lennox Point Apartments was approved in the Land and Environment Court yesterday.
This comes just two months after Ballina Shire Council rejected the application.
It is understood the council spent thousands of dollars of ratepayers’ money to defend the decision, although final costs have not yet been added up.
The two-day hearing was held at the Ballina courthouse, with the verdict handed down yesterday morning.
Lennox Head planner Steve Connolly, who also has an investment in the Lennox Point Apartments, said he was ‘very happy’ with the court’s decision.
“The application is to use the units for both permanent and tourist accommodation,” he said.
“This particular establishment has good occupancy rates at Christmas and Easter, but at other times it’s pretty low.
“To be able to have stays longer than 40 days will improve the occupancy rates.
“We are pleased that the court saw the merit of our proposal. But we’re also disappointed we’ve had to go to the expense and bother of court proceedings.
“I am really confident that the council does its best to make the right call.
“However it is heartening that an independent person, reading the rules, saw so strongly in our favour.”
The council’s regulatory services group manager, Rod Willis, said he was not sure of the council’s total legal costs for the two-day hearing.
“It’s disappointing for the council in that having permanent residents living immediately next door to the Lennox Point Hotel is likely to cause amenity problems,” he said.
“It was, given the location and type of building, not the right development.
“But the council accepts the court’s decision.”
At the time of voting against the change of use, Mayor Phillip Silver said the development application did not meet planning requirements.
“It would make a mockery of the DCP (development control plan),” he said.