An artist's impression of the view from Easy Street in Stage 4 of Habitat in Byron Bay.
An artist's impression of the view from Easy Street in Stage 4 of Habitat in Byron Bay.

‘Not justified’ or much-needed? Proposed hotel sparks debate

A PLANNING change to allow for a proposed hotel in a future stage of the Habitat development in Byron has been adopted.

A development application for Stage Five of Habitat is yet to go before the Northern Regional Planning Panel for consideration.

The DA for the $42 million proposal, lodged in February, seeks approval for an extension to Habitat's mixed-used development, including a hotel, basement car park and three levels above.

Byron Shire Council has debated whether part of the Byron Development Control Plan 2014 should be changed to allow short term-accommodation within the precinct.

Under the existing DCP, the Habitat live-work area could not contain a hotel.

Before Thursday's planning meeting, Cr Cate Coorey said the proposed change was "inconsistent with the original intent of the development" and that there was "no credible justification for the proposed hotel".


Cr Coorey argued the change would "negatively impact neighbourhood amenity".

Cr Alan Hunter said the existing Habitat area was "well respected and well used".

Deputy mayor Sarah Ndiaye said she supported the vision for the site.

"If we're going to be consistently saying we don't want Airbnb, we don't want unregulated holiday letting …. then we should support (this hotel) because it does free up more places for accommodation that should be houses and currently are used as tourist facilities," Cr Ndiaye said.

Cr Coorey also raised the argument the site was "supposed to be a low-cost residential area".

But mayor Simon Richardson said change "isn't always wrong".

"That's what we hoped, while pieces of land were worth one tenth of what they are now," he said.

"Can anyone give me an example of private land, a private development, in a sought-after location that has low cost live-work (with) amazing outcomes?

"Since those days of that aspiration the owners have spent over $10 million in civil infrastructure alone."

Cr Paul Spooner said there was just one submission opposing the DCP change.

"It's not the hot topic that is somehow going to undermine everything in our community," Cr Spooner said.

The DCP change passed in a 6-2 vote.