Affordable Housing

 Under the new SEPP Affordable Rental Housing anyone with an urban block over 450sqm can
build a secondary dwelling of up to 60sqm in size.  This was/is good state government
policy, unfortunately the legislation does not make it clear whether local councils can
levy development contributions, so confusion prevails.  Tweed Council doesn't charges
them, Ballina and Lismore don't quite know and Byron does.
Should they?
Well maybe…. except that this is one of the few effective affordable housing mechanisms
out in the public sphere and Byron Council is one of the few councils on the record as
having an Affordable Housing Strategy.
Council in their wisdom is now levying fees of between $15,000 and $20,000 on average
suburban blocks (which have previously paid contributions as part of original
subdivision approval) when they apply to add a secondary dwelling (a granny flat).
This would I believe be enough of a disincentive for people to either not build them or
subvert the process by building without approval.
Byron Shire Councils did not cause this problem but they have reacted poorly.  People
looking to build new secondary dwellings are doing it to rent and make income but that
is a poor reason to discourage them.  This is a social issue, particularly in Byron
Shire, where housing has become unaffordable for so many.
Why does council have to make everything that is simple so complex?
Malcolm Price
12/5/2010 published in Byron Shire Echo