BOUTIQUE HOTEL: An architect's impression of the proposed Surf Motel in Yamba.
BOUTIQUE HOTEL: An architect's impression of the proposed Surf Motel in Yamba. Tim Howard

Controversial motel DA changes given thumbs up in report

MODIFICATIONS to a controversial Yamba motel development should be approved despite a critical element of the plans - a ground-floor cafe - being removed, say Clarence Valley Council planners.

In September 2015 the council approved a DA for the demolition of the Surf Motel in Queen St, Yamba, to be replaced with a four storey, 12-unit boutique hotel including a ground-floor cafe and a rooftop entertainment area.

In July the motel's proponents, DesignKing Architects, submitted a design modification to the council, removing the cafe from the plan, to the dismay of neighbours.

A report to next week's environment, planning and community committee, recommending approval of the modifications, revealed the council received 21 submissions objecting to the new plans, with the removal of the cafe receiving the most comment.

The report stated: "The majority of submissions to the application state that the cafe is an integral part of the development and approval of the development ... was justified by the vibrancy the cafe will bring to the street and the public benefit it provides.”

This was also the view of some councillors at the 2015 meeting that approved a revised DA.

The council had knocked back an application in February 2015, but it was the cafe as an added attraction to the precinct which changed some councillor's votes.

Council staff have taken a more technical view.

"In the assessment of the previous applications, the cafe has been considered as part of the hotel use and has not been assessed as a separate land use in accordance with the LEP or DCP provisions .... As such the cafe was not defined separately as a 'restaurant or cafe' under the LEP.”

The modified plans have not changed the building's failure to meet council planning regulations around height, setback from the kerb and parking, which councillors traded off for increased "vibrancy” four years ago.