West rezoning won't be rushed

BYRON Council is not going to be pushed into making a rushed decision on rezoning Belongil Fields and adjacent land at West Byron Bay for residential purposes, despite mounting State Government pressure.

At its latest meeting, the council resolved to have council officials meet with the land owners to inform them of recent studies and reports that outline constraints and restrictions to the future development of the sites.

Those constraints relate to traffic, Belongil flood study and climate change impacts, environmental zoning and studies and a buffer to the Sunnybrand Chickens plant.

The owners of the West Byron Bay land have approached the Department of Planning about pursuing an alternative way forward on the issue, possibly through a State-controlled mechanism.

A report to the council said the West Byron Bay land and the Belongil Fields site might hold about 30 percent of the land required to meet the council’s 25-year target identified in the Far North Coast Regional Strategy.

It said if the council didn’t respond to issues raised by the Department of Planning, the council could lose control of the process.

The council recently received a letter from Planning Minister, Kristina Keneally, who said she was concerned about the lack of a timetable for the rezoning process for both areas of land.

Ms Keneally said while she was aware constraints existed to the development of the land, she could see no reason why the Local Environment Plan process could not start so that detailed consideration of the proposals could occur.

She called on the council to advise her as a matter of urgency what steps the council was taking to start rezoning the land.

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