'World's biggest Airbnb': Approved 13-bedroom house not to be used for short-term letting

BIG ONE: An artist's impression of the 13-bedroom house approved for a lot in Raffertys Resort at Cams Wharf. The estimated cost of works for the development is $987,000.
BIG ONE: An artist's impression of the 13-bedroom house approved for a lot in Raffertys Resort at Cams Wharf. The estimated cost of works for the development is $987,000.

Lake Macquarie council has approved what one councillor dubbed "the world's biggest Airbnb" on the condition the property is not used for tourist accommodation or commercial purposes.

The development application for the 13-bedroom, 12-bathroom house and pool proposed for construction within Raffertys Resort at Cams Wharf was brought up at this week's ordinary meeting for determination by the elected council.

The resort is a community-title subdivision with tourist zoning and features a mix of dwellings for short-term accommodation and the homes of a number of permanent residents.

The proposed development was mostly opposed in 35 submissions made during exhibition and failed to garner the support of the Raffertys Resort Community Association, a group representing property owners.

One resident described the development as a "boutique hotel" on a quiet street full of permanent residences.

The development was assessed as a dwelling house, not as a motel or commercial site, so staff had recommended the DA for approval subject to conditions.

But some councillors expressed concern about the house ultimately being used for tourist accommodation.

Cr Barney Langford initially moved an alternate motion to defer the matter for a briefing from staff, but after a lengthy debate it was defeated seven votes to six.

Cr John Gilbert moved an amendment to approve the DA stipulating that the property shall not be used for commercial activity or tourist accommodation.

He had support from deputy mayor Nick Jones, who believed the property would be used for that purpose.

"We can all see through this," he said, adding it would be hard "to police" the property if the development application was approved.

"It's the world's biggest Airbnb," he said.

Council staff said there might be lengthy processes involved to stop the property being used for those purposes if it ultimately was.

That led to Cr Kevin Baker moving another amendment proposing any change in use, such as paid accommodation, require a separate DA.

It passed as the motion 10 votes to three, effectively approving the property for resident use only once built.

The Newcastle Herald could not make contact with the developer, but Seaside Homes designer Melanie Symington said she was given a brief to create a home that could be used by a multi-generational family.

"He wanted a home where a big family could come and everybody felt like they had their own bedroom and en suite," she said.

"The site really did need to be maximised, it's probably the prime site in the whole Raffertys complex.

"There was certainly not an intention to cause an uproar."



This story 'World's biggest Airbnb': 13-bedroom house wins approval, but not for tourist stays first appeared on Newcastle Herald.