Byron Shire Mayor, Michael Lyon today said he was surprised by a decision by the NSW Planning Minister to revoke an earlier commitment to allow Council to decide on its Short Term Rental Accommodation (STRA) Planning Proposal.
In June 2022, the NSW Government’s Department of Planning and Environment gave Council permission to seek community feedback on a planning proposal to reduce the number of days of non-hosted short-term rental accommodation in parts of the Byron Shire from 180 days to 90 days.
Council received more than 1,500 different forms of feedback, including 784 written submissions and 766 responses to surveys.
One of these submissions was a petition containing over 1000 signatures.
The results of the community exhibition of the planning proposal are on the agenda for tomorrow’s Council meeting.
“Councillors were expecting to debate and vote on whether to implement a cap on STRA in some parts of the Byron Shire at the meeting, but this last-minute decision by the Planning Minister means the NSW Independent Planning Commission (IPC) will now have the final say,” Mayor Lyon said.
“I am surprised and disappointed because we have been working towards this for several years, and our proposal to cap areas for STRA to 90 days in parts of the Byron Shire is a modest one seeking balance, in the best interests of our community,” he said.
“We have done a comprehensive engagement and consultation process and the majority of feedback received supported Council’s proposal, with many feeling it doesn’t go far enough.
“I am confident the IPC will find our process has been considered and very thorough and complies with all the requirements set out by the Department of Planning and Environment.
“The aim of this planning proposal is to mitigate the significant impacts of short-term rental accommodation on permanent rental housing supply, amenity, local character, and community while allowing for a diverse and sustainable base of tourist accommodation options to support the local economy.
“At the core of this planning proposal is a desire to return more stable, long-term accommodation to the rental market so our people can have somewhere to live and to ensure that we do not continue to lose long-term accommodation to short-term letting.
“There are economic benefits to the proposal because there are so many jobs not being done currently in our Shire because there is nowhere for people to live.
“Conversely, there is more than enough short-term accommodation for visitors, but if it were to be occupied, we wouldn’t have the staff in the shops and restaurants to service them.
“We know there has been a very strong campaign by some property owners and investors, and multi-national companies such as Airbnb, to bury this planning proposal and I am confident that when the IPC reviews this matter, it will agree with the balanced approach Council is proposing.
“This planning proposal is based on meeting the accommodation needs of everyone in our community, and I make no apology to those opposing it,” Mayor Lyon said.