Court rules in favour of council

BALLINA Shire Council has won the fight against the controversial change of use application for the Ramada Hotel and Suites in Martin Street.


In April last year the council refused an application to allow 94 of the 115 units to be used by permanent residents.


The owner, Slipway Properties, immediately lodged an appeal in the Land and Environment Court.


But last week Commissioner Graham Brown dismissed the appeal. It means the Ramada Hotel and Suites can now only be used for tourist accommodation.


The council’s regulatory services group manager, Rod Willis, said it was a ’fairly clear upholding of the council’s decision’.


Although the court did not award costs, Mr Willis said there could be some scope for the council to get some of its money back. It spent more than $350,000 defending the case.


In the judgment Commissioner Brown said ‘the inadequate on-site car parking is a sufficient reason to refuse the application on this ground alone’.


He also cited ‘unacceptable’ noise levels, solar access and a ‘fundamental incompatibility’ between short-term and long-term accommodation as other reasons for dismissing the appeal.


The applicant’s planner, Steve Connelly, said he felt ‘vindicated but disappointed’ by the result. “Vindicated because the council’s arguments that the application wasn’t consistent with its policies were clearly found to be not the case by the commissioner,” he said.


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