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Unauthorised signage in Byron Bay sees owner fined $30,000

A local business operator was recently fined $30,000 in the Byron Bay Local Court for unauthorised signage placed on a footpath on the corner of Jonson and Lawson Streets.

There were two incidents which occurred in late 2015. The advertising signage was on a trailer, attached to the back of a bike that was chained to a nearby post. The bike was left unattended for a number of hours on each occasion.

Byron Shire Council’s legal services coordinator, Ralph James, said staff had phoned the business owner and requested that the bike and signage be removed. Council’s approach was conciliatory, stating that if the signage was removed 'that will be the end of it'.

“The owner refused and continued to locate the bike and advertising trailer in the Byron town centre. Almost a week later the bike and advertising trailer were again placed at the same Lawson Street location, for an extended period.”

The business owner was recontacted.

“Again the owner refused to move the bike,” Mr James said, “and was verbally abusive and told Council’s enforcement officer that he would be continuing to display the signage ‘where I like’.

“As a result, he was fined,” Mr James said.

The Byron Shire Council officer issued two Penalty Infringement Notices (on the spot fines) totaling $6,000 for the offences of development without development consent. The defendant elected to have the Penalty Infringement Notices dealt with by the Local Court.

In court the defendant was convicted and fined $10,000 for the first offence and $20,000 for the second offence.

The defendant was also ordered to pay Council’s legal costs of $1,500. The total financial penalty was $31,500.

Mr James said that in passing sentence, the Magistrate said the court needed to send a very clear message to people who placed signage on public land without having obtained the relevant consent.

“It was a strong message that  people who deliberately flout the law and pollute the area with unapproved signage, would not be tolerated.

“Before simply putting up signage, first check with Council on the zonings and what is and isn’t allowed. In this instance, advertising signage required Council approval,” Mr James said.

The placement of a sign on a road, where Council is the responsible road authority, is assessed with respect to potential detrimental impact on, or ability to create, one or more of the following:

  • Distract drivers and/or pedestrians
  • Impact on traffic flow or traffic management of any particular area
  • Obstruct the line of sight of either drivers or pedestrians
  • Impacting on the intended use of public spaces
  • Create a disturbance to nearby businesses
  • Incite or antagonise other persons by virtue of the message displayed
  • Attract people to congregate or gather so as to create a disturbance and/or hinder a business to conduct their operations in a normal unimpeded manner.

Media contact:

Media Communication Officer
Byron Shire Council
Ph: 02 6626 7320

Byron Shire is located at Australia's eastern-most point with a population of almost 29,000. It is a thriving community where residents and visitors live, work and play in a sustainable environment and where Council strives to deliver the highest standard of local government services and infrastructure.