Holiday lets: Mayor is ready to go to court

Byron Council may go back to the future in a bid to settle the prickly holiday let issue once and for all - and is ready to fight it out in court if it has to.

With the Department of Planning recently indicating it wouldn't support the council's proposed precinct-based approach to holiday lets, the council is set to fall back on its 1988 shire-wide Local Environmental Plan (LEP) to back its stance - and that stance, according to mayor Cr Jan Barham, is that holiday letting in residential zones is illegal.

Cr Barham said the council had sought to come up with a reasonable compromise with the precinct proposal, but had now been forced into a corner by the State Government.

At today's council meeting, Cr Barham will call on councillors to back a motion declaring holiday letting in residential zones an unapproved 'tourism' activity that requires approval in line with provisions in the Building Code of Australia, NSW fire regulations and the Conveyancing Act.

Cr Barham said there were enough court judgements on the issue to give council the confidence that it would be successful.

“If we have got to test it, we will,” she said.

In a report to the council, the council's director of planning, development and environment services, Ray Darney, said that in rejecting the precinct proposal, the department had not recognised that holiday lets in residential zones might contradict existing planning provisions.

Mr Darney said the department's position did not appear to be in line with some Land and Environment Court judgements.

He said the court had generally considered that holiday letting was not a 'residential' use.

Holiday Let Organisation (HLO) spokesman, John Gudgeon, said the mayor was 'grasping' at whatever she could to continue her campaign despite the clear message sent to her by the State Government.

Mr Gudgeon said it was obvious the Greens intended to pursue the issue no matter what negative effects it might have.

“Sooner or later the State will act,” he said. “However until then real collateral damage is occurring on a daily basis.”


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