A proposal to use Special Housing Area legislation to fast-track development of a townhouse and apartment development on a Tauranga holiday park has been approved by the city council despite hitting a wall of objections.

The council yesterday voted 10-1 to support the application by SNG Investments for the Golden Grove Holiday Park and an adjoining house on Paterson St to become a Special Housing Area.

SNG plans to build 66 two and three-level townhouses and apartments as well as a cafe and childcare centre on the 10,000 sq m site. It intends to exceed the 9m residential height limit for the three-level apartments by up to two metres.

The council backed the staff recommendation that the request for a Special Housing Area could be put to the Minister of Housing for approval.


However, 33 of the 42 submitters opposed the proposal. One of them, architect Stephen Bird, said the council had so far approved 1978 sections under the Housing Accord, with a further 246 under consideration. "This more than meets the targets under the Accord."

Mr Bird said the proposal was really an attempt to rezone the land under the City Plan.

"I don't believe that using the provisions of the SHA to bypass the already agreed City Plan is good practice."

He said the huge amount of effort that went into developing the City Plan should not be ignored for such small gains in housing supply. The proposal was adding 35 dwellings to the 31 that could be built as of right on the land. Mr Bird said Special Housing Area legislation significantly reduced the ability of the community and affected parties to make submissions on proposals.

"In this instance, I think the effects of such an ad-hoc development within this residential zone need much greater scrutiny."

Councillor Matt Cowley said there were pockets of intensification around the city and this one had been quite well designed, considering what could have been proposed.

Deputy Mayor Kelvin Clout said it ticked quite a few boxes and any increase in the supply of houses must be good for house prices. Community concerns could be mitigated. Councillor Steve Morris said the effects of over shadowing were very minor.

The council was told that the three-storey apartments had been shifted back towards the centre of the development, although Councillor Catherine Stewart said it would still be a blot on the landscape. People living in single storey houses around the site would certainly notice the impact, she said.

Councillor Leanne Brown said it was a well designed development and she wanted the developer to host an open day for neighbours in order to "give them some comfort".