How dense do they think we are?

suburbiaThe West Byron urban release area has the potential for a maximum of some 2,580 houses if all residential lots were developed as attached dwellings on 150m2 lots. At the other end of the spectrum, allowing for a range of lot sizes indicates that a minimum of some 1,660 residences across the development would be a reasonable estimate. Therefore the BRG’s claims of 1,500 to 2,000 houses must be regarded as conservative.

It is clear that both the Department of Planning and the Environment (DoPE), and the West Byron landowners. have grossly mislead the community regarding the potential size of this development.

Last year the West Byron landowners (News 2 October) claimed that 1,100 houses was the theoretical maximum allowable on their site. The landowners’ claim was based on the false premise that minimum lot sizes are 550 m2 in the low density zone and 250m2 in the medium density zone. They then claimed that a 25-30% reduction needs to be made to account for roads and infrastructure, giving 770-825 houses.
Here is the link to the full West Byron Bay Assessment Report

The Department’s claims were false.

At that time DoPE identified minimum lots sizes as 450m2 and 200m2 respectively in the low and medium density residential zones, though their then proposed DCP (p39) identified the minimum as 150m2 for the medium density zone. So at that time the theoretical maximum was 1,718 houses, which reduces to 1,203-1,288 with allowance for roads and infrastructure. So the Department of Planning’s then estimate that it could be for up to 1,100 houses was reasonable, though a likely under-estimate.

The allowable density has since been dramatically increased with the SEPP.

The final West Byron SEPP extended the 150m2 minimum lot sizes from the medium density residential zone to the low density residential zone. Now the SEPP allows minimum lot sizes of 150m2 for attached and semi-attached dwellings and 200m2 for detached dwellings in both residential zones. This increases the theoretical maximum number of dwellings to 3,687 attached dwellings or 2,765 detached dwellings. If the higher 30% reduction is made to account for roads and infrastructure, this gives a potential yield of 2,581 attached dwellings or 1,936 detached dwellings.

  Area (m2) Minimum lot size (attached) Minimum Lot Size (detached) Theoretical maximum (attached) Theoretical maximum (detached)
Low Density Residential 443000 150 200 2953 2215
Medium Density Residential 110000 150 200 733 550
3687 2765


It is recognised that a variety of lot sizes are likely to be used. If, as a best case, half the lots in the medium density residential zone were limited to 200m2 and half to 150m2 (with a 30% reduction) this would result in a potential 450 houses. If half the lots in the low density residential zone were limited to 450m2 and half to 200m2 (with a 30% reduction) this would result in a potential 1,120 houses. So a yield of 1,570 houses could be regarded as a minimum for the residential zones.

It needs to be recognised that shop top housing is also allowed in the 1.1 ha business zone. No minimum sizes are prescribed for these, but if 200m2 lots and the above assumptions are applied this could result in an additional 39 shop-top residences. Similarly caretaker flats are allowed in the 7.5ha light industrial zone, subdivision is limited to 1,000m2, so (with a 30% reduction) this could allow another 53 residences.

So a minimum of 1,660 residences across the development would be a reasonable estimate.

DoPE have clearly lied to their Minister and the community.

DoPE’s claim that “The estimated yield s up to 1,100 residential lots if the site is fully developed at the minimum lot size” is plainly false and misleading. There are no other constraints within the SEPP or DCP to limit the yield of lots and nothing to require that they be released in a staged process over 20 years.

Extracts from DoPE’s “West Byron Bay Urban Release Area Assessment Report”

(27 May 2014).

1 Comment

  1. This is the most ridiculous planning decision I have ever heard off! Where are all these people meant to work , unless these will all be illegal holiday lets. If Prue Goward is trying to kill tourism in Byron Bay this just might do it !


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