Western Bay Accord paves way for housing growth

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Western Bay of Plenty Mayor Ross Paterson has signed a Housing Accord with Government that aims to increase the number of new homes built in the district each year.

The Accord, signed by Mr Paterson and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith at Western Bay of Plenty District Council, identified Omokoroa as the first area for special housing development.

The Accord aims to increase the number of building consents issued in the Western Bay from 200 per year to 275 in the first year and 300 in the second, providing for a net total of 175 extra houses.

Mayor Paterson welcomed the opportunity to be part of Government's initiative and looked forward to engaging with the Omokoroa community in September over the details of the Housing Accord.

"It makes sense to take this direction. There are potential residential areas within Omokoroa where infrastructure and commercial development is already in place and where changes can take affect to complement the existing market," he said.

"The Accord enables Council to fast-track changes without having to go through the standard Resource Management Act process. We will also be looking at the possibility of other special housing areas such as Katikati and Te Puke where affordable residential development can occur under the Accord."

One of the Accord's benefits was all the way through the process Council was in control of where special housing areas were created and what rules applied to developments within those areas. That could ensure there were quality developments in the right place.

The Government's purpose of the Accord was to improve housing affordability through facilitating an increase in the supply of land and housing in certain districts where land supply and affordability issues are otherwise barriers to housing.

Mayor Paterson said the western Bay of Plenty sub-regional growth management strategy SmartGrowth was a huge plus for the Western Bay in the eyes of the Government.

"We already have settlement patterns planned well into the future and infrastructural development under way. This paves the way for us to increase the supply of affordable homes which in turn will enable economic growth by reducing the pressure of housing costs on families."

The Accord would be ratified by the Western Bay of Plenty District Council on Tuesday, August 19.

With Western Bay and Tauranga added to the list, the Government had Housing Accords in place in Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, Tauranga and the Western Bay of Plenty, with negotiations under way in Queenstown.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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