It's the next step forward for a plan to transform the hills above Mission Estate on Napier's outskirts into a sprawling subdivision, with lifestyle blocks and rural properties.
Napier City Council agreed to adopt the private plan change which would allow for a "Mission Special Character Zone" to be established in the 289ha of land owned by Marist Holdings Ltd.
This currently holds the renowned Mission Estate winery, a concert venue, as well as activities including farming, forestry, olive growing and bee keeping.
As well as enhancing the tourism attraction of the existing historic facilities, the plan would transform the hilltop area into several distinct areas which would be used for housing, lifestyle blocks and rural activities.
Yesterday Napier deputy mayor Faye White said it had taken nearly 15 years, but the plan went through an "extremely robust" process.
"We now have a very exciting subdivision or plan change before us which will change the face of Napier."
In agreeing to the private plan change, it was noted it had "significant public good elements". The proposal stresses that the new zone would protect and enhance the area's landscape, the "versatile soils" of the vineyard flats, and the heritage values of the Mission Estate - including the Grande Maison and archaeological sites.
The plan change would be publicly notified and go through a hearing process. It is understood the company had hoped to break ground in 2018.
On potential risks, councillors were assured by staff that it was a structured plan which set specific outcomes to be delivered. Although it was clear what was proposed, the facets of the plan would still have to be approved.
In light of the recent concern about new developments on another renowned Hawke's Bay landmark – a Te Mata Peak walking track – councillor Graeme Taylor said he was very pleased to hear there were protections in place.
This would help Taradale grow, "but there'll be no scarring on the landscape".
Councillor Tony Jeffery said 10 years ago, the council never would have supported this plan change as council's urban experts regarded the area as a significant landscape, which should be protected from development.
"How things have changed," he said, noting this plan would "future proof" the city.
The joint Heretaunga Plains Urban Development Strategy – which outlines how urban housing should be developed – stated developments should occur on Napier hill area rather than on the fertile soil of flat land.
The final plans still had to be approved by the council. They include the development of a subdivision which would be designed to reflect the heritage and landscape setting of the Mission Estate.
The current hospitality activities of the Mission Estate and the backdrop hills behind it would be accommodated in the "Landscape and Visitor precinct", with opportunity for
tourism development of the attraction.
The steep eastern hillside would be planted as woodland to protect and enhance the landscape, and ensure houses above the estate could not be seen from Church Rd. The final precincts included rural productive, and rural residential - where up to 40 lifestyle blocks could be developed.