POPULAR Ballina cafe, the Belle General, will be allowed to continue operating in its expanded form, with the council approving an application for extra seating and earlier opening hours.
The café had been operating outside of its approved conditions.
An application to formally allow the extra seats and a 7am opening time was debated by councillors at today's meeting.
In a 6-4 vote, the application was approved, with some modifications.
The Belle General will be allowed to open at 7.30am instead of 8am.
The total number of seats will be capped at 49, the disabled toilet will have to be redesigned, and the waste facility relocated.
Owners will also be required to "take all reasonable steps" to direct customers to use public car parks which do not have residential frontage.
News of the impending vote created consternation among readers on The Northern Star's Facebook page this morning with many people speaking up in defence of the cafe.
"The Belle's have worked hard to be accommodating neighbours on the strip while still maintaining high standards of customer service, food delivery and deliciousness," commented EClaire Sowden.
"Council should be encouraging such business and proud of business owners who are as responsible and responsive to the community."
"Let them expand, it's one of the best cafes in Ballina," said Kathrina Southwell.
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