Council puts $1.4m hinterland restaurant decision on hold
CONSIDERATION of a proposal for a new scenic restaurant at Coorabell has been deferred by Byron Shire Council.
The council's staff had recommended they enter into a planning agreement and approve the $1.395 million proposal in a report that went before Thursday's planning meeting.
The proposal, for 784 Coolamon Scenic Drive, includes a daytime cafe, seating 40 people and serving breakfast and lunch between Wednesday and Sunday.
For councillors, a sticking point was the proposed use of the adjacent Scarrabelottis Lookout for the restaurant's 14 carparking spaces.
Councillor Basil Cameron argued they should refuse the DA, citing a list of reasons.
"I've lived in this shire since the mid-80s and ever since I've been here that lookout … has been one of the shire's special spots," he said.
"One of the beautiful aspects of that location is its low key nature."
He said the proposed development wouldn't align with the community's value for the site.
"This speaks to me about a set of social and cultural values, and indeed environmental values, for our shire, that have been largely (disregarded)," he said.
He argued illegal camping and other negative behaviour wouldn't necessarily stop at the lookout if the proposal went ahead.
Mayor Simon Richardson said he didn't oppose the restaurant itself although he was "uneasy about things in the scenic escarpment zone".
"My issue is using a public space for a car park," Cr Richardson said.
He said while the lookout was now classed as a road reserve, it was "donated as a public lookout".
He also said their focus shouldn't be solely on the 24 public submissions, all but one of which opposed the DA.
"The numbers don't sway me; the reasoned arguments sway me," he said.
Cr Cameron opposed an amendment which sought to reject the development only on the grounds of the parking issue.
"If we knock back the DA without acknowledging the public interest and the economic and cultural values of it … it won't help any of us at all, to come back to this at a later stage and find we have got no room to move," Cr Cameron said.
Cr Cate Coorey also opposed other aspects of the proposal.
The council resolved in a 4-2 vote to defer the matter to allow the applicant and council staff the chance to reconsider the carparking plan.