Byron’s holiday letting saga expected to drag on
BYRON BAY'S holiday letting saga looks set to drag on with little hope that a case currently underway in the NSW Land and Environment will set a precedent for Byron Bay.
A couple living next to a six-bedroom holiday rental in Terrigal on the central coast of NSW are arguing that its owner should be stopped from renting it out.
John and Rosemary Dobrohotoff said the six bedroom Terrigal property regularly played host to loud music, drunken males and strippers and the owner Rhonda Bennic, should be prohibited from letting it out.
Both sides of the bitter debate in Byron Bay believe the out of the case will be interesting but will not solve the problem here.
Simon Davis from the the Victims of Holiday Letting (VOHL) group said he would take comfort from a ruling in the Dobrotohoff's favour but believes that council already has the power to address problems with local holiday lets.
"The state government has already said it is up to local council planning laws to control holiday letting using instruments such as the existing LEP," Mr Davis said.
"Byron Bay's LEP specifically states that there should be no tourist facilities or commercial activities carried out in residential areas except for B&B's."
"It's now up to council to enforce our LEP."
John Gudgeon, president of the Holiday Letting Organisation of Byron believes that if the Dobrohotoffs were successful it may encourage someone to follow suit locally.
"If such a case was mounted the state government would finally need to intervene and provide clarity on the definition surrounding holiday letting within the standard instrument LEP," he said.
"We believe that ultimately this is not a planning issue but a behavioural management issue."
Last year Byron council commenced proceedings in the Land and Environment court against a local property owner in an attempt to provide legal certainty to act against rental properties.
But in February the landowner surrendered to council's case and agreed not to use the property for short-term rentals, denying council its precedent.
Mr Gudgeon said the case did not conform to an example of holiday letting and it was appropriate that it did not proceed.
Council subsequently decided not to pursue another test case, disappointing members of VOHL group which was formed in March.