Plans to have a localised framework to control short term holiday letting have been put on hold.
Plans to have a localised framework to control short term holiday letting have been put on hold.

Is Byron Bay becoming a town just for rich people?

PLANS for a local set of rules for short term rental accommodation in the Byron Shire have been hampered by a new hurdle.

Deputy mayor Michael Lyon said the council was still committed to securing a local framework for the industry, including a 90-day cap on non-hosted holiday lets.

The state government has released details of a mandatory code of conduct for the short term rental accommodation industry, which will come into effect on December 18.

A statewide planning policy change relating to holiday letting was due to come into effect next June and Cr Lyon said it was important for the council's own framework to be finalised before then.

He said the local community would be "destroyed" if that doesn't happen.

"Byron, other than for the rich, will be destroyed," Cr Lyon said.


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Byron deputy mayor Michael Lyon.
Byron deputy mayor Michael Lyon.

"There will be no housing, there will be no community and there will be a massive issue with people wanting to work here and having to live outside the shire."

The council submitted a planning proposal detailing potential local rules to the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment earlier this year.

"We have been told we must now provide an economic analysis but given insufficient detail as to the scope," Cr Lyon said.

Cr Lyon said the planning department had more recently told the council "they would do their own study and that would then define the terms of where we need to focus our economic analysis".

"It seems to us that they are concerned about the economic impacts on the landowners.

"They're coming from an economic point of view of tourism … but we take a broader view of our whole community.

"The housing stress in this area is among the worst in Australia, the rental vacancy rate is close to zero and the verdict is back - unregulated STRA is a driving force behind this."

He said recent data showed 3500 Byron Shire homes were listed on Airbnb, 80 per cent of them leased as entire homes.

"We're not interested in the impacts on tourism because that well never runs dry in Byron," he said.

"We're interested in balance and a sustainable community."

The planning department has been approached for comment.