300-home LLC for GemLife in Ballina (Northern NSW) goes to court thanks to increased development cost by 63%

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A development application for a 300-lot land lease community in Northern NSW will be heard at the NSW Land and Environment Court after the applicant for GemLife bypassed the NSW Regional Planning Panel.

The development application for a 14ha block was brought to Ballina Shire Council by Planners North, of Byron Bay, on behalf of GemLife, which owns and operates 10 resorts in Queensland, NSW and Victoria.

A letter dated 11 June, 2020 from Planners North to Ballina Shire Council updated the cost of the development from just under $30 million to $48.8 million (63% increase), which meant the DA, which had received objections from some residents, had to be referred to the NSW Regional Planning Panel.

Shortly after the re-exhibition of the amended application, the Planners North lodged proceedings in the Land and Environment Court for a deemed refusal of the development application.

A conciliation conference between the parties was held on 12 November 2020, and a hearing was set for early May 2021. The hearing was cancelled as the applicant sought to make further amendments to the DA.

The appeal is now set for hearing on 2 August, 2021.

A $33.9 seniors housing project for GemLife for 147 sites in nearby Skennars Head was approved by the Northern Regional Planning Panel on 31 May.