On 8 December 2020 the NSW Land and Environment Court approved, subject to conditions of consent, a development application (DA) made by Villa World, for a development on Ewingsdale Road.
The approved DA is for:
The staged subdivision of nine lots into 149 residential lots (comprised of 145 smaller residential lots and 4 large lifestyle lots) and the creation of seven green infrastructure lots, together with associated works including vegetation removal, earthworks, landscaping, creation of public reserves, roads, environmental management and protection and stormwater works at 342 Ewingsdale Road, 22A and 22B Melaleuca Drive, Byron Bay.
The decision by Commissioner Chilcott was in accordance with instructions provided by the Northern Regional Planning Panel.
On 10 May 2017 Villa World Byron Pty Ltd lodged a development application with Council seeking approval for a staged development involving subdivision to create 282 residential lots in the West Byron Urban Release Area.
Council referred the development application to the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage for approval and to numerous other organisations for their consideration and advice including:
- Department of Planning and Environment
- Roads and Maritime Services
- NSW Marine Parks Authority
- NSW Office of Water
- Water NSW
- Bundjalung of Byron Bay Aboriginal Corp (Arakwal)
- Tweed Byron Local Aboriginal Land Council
- Jali Local Aboriginal Land Council
- NSW Department of Primary Industries – Lands
- NSW Department of Primary Industries – Fisheries
Council publicly exhibited the development application for a period of five weeks between June and July 2017. Council received 305 submissions in opposition to the development application.
In December 2017 the development application was amended. The amended development application was publicly exhibited for a period of six weeks in January and February 2018. Council received 2412 submissions in opposition to the amended development application.
The development application was then considered by the Northern Regional Planning Panel on 8 April 2019 when the Panel determined to refuse the application.
On 4 October 2019 the applicant lodged an appeal in the NSW Land and Environment Court.
In the appeal Council said that the development application should be refused for reasons including:
- Bushfire hazard
- Ecological and biodiversity impact
- Stormwater, earthworks, groundwater and acid sulphate soils
- Traffic and acoustic impacts
- Subdivision and staging
- Visual impact
- Social impact
- Suitability of the site
- Public interest
In accordance with the Court’s usual practice the parties were directed to participate in a Conciliation conference in good faith toward, if possible, an outcome agreeable to both Council and the developer.
That conference took place on 20 and 21 August 2020. Council’s external experts in the fields of environment, engineering, ecology, planning and traffic attended and participated in the conference.
At the conciliation conference the applicant produced amended plans and additional documents.