A planning proposal is seeking rezoning of land near Elements of Byron at Belongil.
A planning proposal is seeking rezoning of land near Elements of Byron at Belongil.

Coastal rezoning proposal divides councillors

BYRON mayor Simon Richardson has used his casting vote to allow a proposed rezoning of coastal land to proceed to the state planning department for Gateway determination.

The proposal for land at the northern end of Bayshore Drive, once home to a golf course and owned by Ganra Pty Ltd, went before Byron Shire Council's planning meeting today.

It seeks approval for an Environmental Living (E4) zone to allow for nine residential lots and other environmental zonings to cover the 41 hectare site.

It would mark the first application of an E4 zone in the Byron Shire.

Jeremy Holmes, the development director for North Byron Beach Resort, asked councillors for their support.

Sandra Heilpern also addressed councillors and raised concerns, including the fact the shire-wide Coastal Management Program has not yet been completed.

Deputy mayor Sarah Ndiaye argued they should not proceed with the planning proposal and should encourage the applicant to wait until the council's CMP is completed.

Cr Ndiaye did support the implementation of E2 and E3 environmental zoning, but opposed the push for Environmental Living.

"I still don't think this area should be rezoned to E4," she said.

"It's nothing personal, nothing against (Elements of Byron).

"I greatly appreciate a lot of what they've done in the area."

Cr Richardson asked his colleagues to support the staff recommendation, to proceed with the changes.

Cr Basil Cameron said there had been an "ad hoc" approach to understanding future coastal erosion risks, but the meeting heard a study funded by the applicant had been peer-reviewed.

Crs Richardson, Michael Lyon, Alan Hunter and Paul Spooner supported the staff recommendation.

Crs Ndiaye, Cameron, Jeannette Martin, and Cate Coorey opposed this.

Cr Richardson used his casting vote to allow the proposal to move ahead.

He said this was in accordance with the intent of absent councillor, Jan Hackett.

Under the proposal, the current public beach access would remain available.

The land is currently home to Byron Writers Festival.