Proposed special housing area in Papamoa East

File photo.

The development of a special housing area in Papamoa East at 4 Emerald Shores Drive has been proposed by the Tauranga City Transformation Committee.

The proposal was made at a meeting held on Wednesday October 3, where the committee agreed for it to be put to the full council for decision later this month.

The land is currently owned by developer Bluehaven Holdings Limited.

Development of housing at the currently vacant site could be fast-tracked through an accelerated resource consenting process, if the special housing area is approved by council and then by the Minister for Housing and Urban Development, says the Committee.

The main purpose of special housing areas in Tauranga is to help bring housing stock to the market faster.

The concept submitted by Bluehaven proposes 77 single-level detached dwellings to be developed under leasehold agreements for people 55 years or older. Sixty per cent of the dwellings would be two-bedroom, and sold under $300,000.

Nathan York, CEO of Bluehaven Holdings Limited, told the committee that the proposed development was modelled on a successful development at Kamahi Crescent, the Golden Sands Lifestyle Village.

“It’s an opportunity for us to provide a new type of housing to the community, to people who don’t want a quarter hectare section, and want a tidy, well-designed and affordable home of their own instead, for their retirement years.”

Committee Chair Larry Bladock says that with the high demand for housing driving property prices up in Tauranga, council has to consider ways to enable houses onto the ground faster, to relieve some pressure on the market.

“We need to provide for more housing in new growth areas and also through infill and increased density within our existing urban areas,” says Larry.

“We also know that our population is ageing, so delivering different types and sizes of housing is becoming increasingly important.”

“This proposal ticks both boxes – it makes sense for us to support this.”

Through consultation with the neighbouring community in August this year, the council received written feedback from 88 parties. Of these, 11 provided support, seven conditional support, one provided a technical response and 69 opposed the proposed special housing area. Two of the responses in opposition included 38 and 77 signatories respectively, many of whom also made separate submissions of their own.

The main concerns expressed by residents revolved around traffic, linked to the current congestion experienced by the community on Papamoa Beach Road. Other concerns related to the capacity of other infrastructure, lack of open space, increased density and the associated fear of ‘ghettoisation’ of the area, and impact on property prices.

Staff gave an overview to the committee of the works currently underway to alleviate the congestion on Papamoa Beach Road: the section of Te Okuroa Drive from Parton Road to The Boulevard connection is now complete, and the section from The Boulevard to Livingstone Drive is scheduled for completion by February 2019.

In addition, a side agreement between Council and Bluehaven would lock in other upgrades to the road network, with the developer to build Emerald Shores Drive over the Wairakei Stream by end of 2019, as well as a road connection from the stream crossing to The Boulevard by end of 2020. Tauranga City Council would construct the road connection between Stevenson Drive and Te Okuroa Drive by end of 2019.

By the time the first new dwellings are on the ground at Emerald Shores in 2020/2021, Te Okuroa Drive would provide a practical alternative to Papamoa Beach Road, with further connection to the Tauranga Eastern Link to come once the Papamoa East Interchange is built. The side agreement will require Bluehaven to deliver a full traffic impact assessment before applying for any development consents, to assess the impact of the development on the wider transport network.

The side agreement would also lock in other aspects of the development proposal that Council consulted the community on. This includes the development of a 523m2 reserve extension, increasing the reserve on Wairakei Avenue to 1523m2; formalising affordability criteria of 60% of dwellings to be sold at no more than $300,000 +GST to 31 December 2019, with price increases capped at 5% per year after that; and an agreement that the layout of the future village will align with the proposed plan we consulted on.

The proposal will now be submitted to the full Council later on this month, who will have final say on whether to recommend the special housing area to the Minister for Housing and Urban Development.

What are special housing areas?

Special housing areas are sites in the city that are suitable for new housing and able to be developed fast to increase housing supply. Development of these sites can be fast-tracked under the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Act 2013, through an accelerated resource consenting process.

Special housing areas are proposed by landowners or developers, considered by Council and if supported by Council, submitted to the Minister of Housing and Urban Development for a final decision.

Special housing areas will only be established in areas where there is a clear demand for housing, and where there is already suitable infrastructure in place (e.g. roads, wastewater systems, water supply pipes), or plans for it to be built.

Developments do not need to be for low cost housing, affordable housing or social housing in order to be progressed through a special housing area. However when recommending special housing areas, Council includes criteria specifying maximum building height, the minimum number of dwellings and a measure for affordable houses. As such, special housing areas present the opportunity to start delivering a more compact and varied urban form as recommended by the draft Tauranga Urban Strategy and the western Bay of Plenty’s Future Development Strategy.

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