Granny flats prove popular thanks to fee-waiving policy

MORE than 50 granny flats have been built across the Ballina Shire since the council implemented a policy that waived developer contribution fees for secondary dwellings.

The policy has been so successful that the council has decided to extend it for two years, until March 31, 2018.

It aims to increase the type of properties available for rent across the shire, provide more affordable housing, give homeowners another source of income, and provide opportunities for inter-generational care.

Between April 2014 and December 2015, the council waived developer contributions for 55 granny flats.

Of those 22 were at Lennox Head, eight were in Ballina, seven at Alstonville and six at East Ballina.

Secondary dwellings were also approved for West Ballina, Cumbalum, Skennars Head, Wollongbar and Wardell.

"There appears to be a significant shortage of one and two bedroom affordable accommodation within Ballina Shire," a council report on the policy extension states.

"Council's fee waiver policy has had some success providing additional one and two bedroom dwellings which appears to be more affordable than other larger accommodation on offer in the market place."

To qualify for the waiving of contributions, the total floor area of the granny flat must be less than 60m2 and it can't have more than two bedrooms.

Compliance must be achieved with all other requirements relating to secondary dwellings contained within the Affordable Rental Housing State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP).

Further information about the policy can be found on the council's website or phone the council's Development and Environmental Health Group on 6686 1415.