Cate Coorey from the Byron Residents Group with Ballina MP Tamara Smith at an Anti-West Byron Development rally held in Byron Bay in 2018.
Cate Coorey from the Byron Residents Group with Ballina MP Tamara Smith at an Anti-West Byron Development rally held in Byron Bay in 2018.

$25 million West Byron proposal subject to court appeal

THE development application for Villa World's proposal for its West Byron development will go before a conciliation conference in August.

The $25 million proposal seeks approval for the creation of 282 residential lots, roads, an acoustic wall and related works on the southern side of Ewingsdale Rd, at Melaleuca Drive.

The proposal is adjacent the land that relates to a Site R & D application, which is to go before the Land and Environment Court.

>>> TIMELINE: History of West Byron development proposals

The DA was lodged with the council on May 10, 2017.

This DA, then an amended version, went on public exhibition in the following years and the Northern Regional Planning Panel refused the application on a number of grounds last April.

Villa World launched an appeal in October 4, 2019 and Byron Shire Council has retained Marsdens Law Group to defend the decision in the Land and Environment Court.

The matter will go to an on-site conciliation conference on August 20 and 21.

Up to six residents may be given the chance to speak.

Resident Kevin Devlin said a letter from the council letter indicated this would allow for the "just, quick and cheap disposal of proceedings".

"We don't want it just, quick and cheap," Mr Devlin said.

"We want it just.

"We want a good conciliation."

For Mr Devlin, the potential water drainage impacts on the nearby Byron Bay CBD and other neighbouring areas is among the key issues with the proposal.

He's also concerned by the cost the ongoing proceedings will pose for the council, and ratepayers.

Aside from the portion of the conciliation where those member of the public can speak, only the parties - Villa World, the council, their legal teams and their expert witnesses - will be able to attend.

Byron Shire Council legal counsel Ralph James said the council had written to those who'd previously objected to the proposal.

While he couldn't recall the exact figure of objectors they'd informed of the conciliation, Mr James said this was "certainly more than 1000".

He said the limit of six public speakers had been a practice direction from the Land and Environment Court's Chief Judge.

"The objectors have all been encouraged to talk amongst themselves and nominate someone who would represent their issue," he said.

If the conciliation conference leads to a resolution between the council and developer, the DA would still need to go back before the council.

"Nothing of finalist will come out of (August)," Mr James said.

If the issues are not resolved, the matter will proceed to a hearing.