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Independent Planning Commission Provides Advice on Byron Shire Short Term Rental Planning Proposal

Posted: 27.04.2023

The NSW Independent Planning Commission provided its advice to the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces this week on short term rental accommodation and housing and rental affordability in the Byron Shire.

The advice was requested by the former Minister for Planning in December 2022 for the Minister to consider before finalising a Planning Proposal prepared by the Byron Shire Council to amend the current 180 day cap on non-hosted short term rental accommodation (‘non-hosted STRA’) to 90 days, with some local precincts having no cap.

The Commission Panel – Dr Sheridan Coakes (Chair), Ms Juliet Grant and Professor Richard Mackay AM – held a two-day public hearing, met with key stakeholder organisations, conducted a locality tour, and received more than 500 written submissions.

After hearing and considering submissions, the Commission recommended that the Planning Proposal not proceed in its current form. Instead, the Commission proposed the non-hosted STRA cap be reduced to 60 days a year across the Byron Shire and a new streamlined process be established to provide flexibility for Council to assess and approve non-hosted STRA that exceeds this cap on a case-by-case basis.

The advice report notes that: “Council is generally best placed to identify and balance the social and economic needs of Byron Shire and to use development consents … to apply a wide range of conditions on STRA land uses”. Within its recommendations, the Commission proposed that Council and other decision makers be required to consider current rental availability in granting any approval for relevant STRA land uses. The proposed development consent process would need “clear guidelines and a streamlined approval pathway” and “an appropriate transitional period” for non-hosted STRA providers.

The Commission provided 12 recommendations, including the introduction of a levy on STRA stays in the Byron Shire area to address amenity, infrastructure and service impacts and deliver community benefits, and a suite of wider measures to improve local housing and rental affordability and availability in the area. An integrated evaluation and continuous improvement framework should be adopted to monitor and evaluate implementation of the Commission’s recommendations.

The Panel acknowledges the efforts of the local community in writing submissions and presenting at the public hearing. This process informed the Panel on the issues and in developing its recommendations.

All documents relating to the Commission’s advice can be found on the Commission’s website:

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