An additional 341 houses are to be fast-tracked in two developments under way at Papamoa in a bid to meet the skyrocketing demand for new homes in the coastal suburb.
Tauranga City Council has agreed to ask the Government to extend two Special Housing Areas already approved for the Golden Sands and Palm Springs subdivisions.
Bluehaven Holdings applied for another 273 houses on 17.2 hectares of Golden Sands while Hawridge Developments sought an additional 68 houses on 5.7ha of Palm Springs.
The council's decision was despite community opposition, with many objecting to allowing building heights of up to 17.5 metres on 5.6ha of Golden Sands.
Council policy planner Janine Speedy said it was moving further east, with the area of Golden Sands already approved for building heights up to 17.5m. The shift was to an area beside the planned town centre. She said residents feared they would lose their views of Papamoa Hills, but this would not happen because of the bund (embankment) that had already been constructed.
Strategic planner Andrew Mead said the height was more appropriate next to a business zone than in a residential environment.
Bluehaven had started work on some early concepts for the Town Centre, with a larger residential catchment the most important thing for development of the centre, he said.
A key element was when development would start of Te Tumu, the farmland down to the Kaituna River which would be opened up to housing once Wairakei was nearly full. "It was still some years away."
Councillor Bev Edlin said no one would be significantly affected by 17.5m building heights. "It is a very positive move and a good use of the land."
Councillor Steve Morris said it would probably be the last Special Housing Areas for Tauranga. He said it would also help the case to construct the $20 million Te Okuroa Drive. "In a strange kind of way, approving this secures Te Okuroa Drive."
Mayor Stuart Crosby said Te Okuroa Drive would be finished by the time the Special Housing Areas came on stream around 2018. He said the council was securing the last lot of land to extend Te Okuroa Drive.