Housing intensification and the expansion of Tauranga onto farmland at Tauriko, Pyes Pa and Papamoa have emerged as the way forward to cope with exploding growth.

Tauranga City Council has unanimously agreed to implement far-reaching changes recommended in SmartGrowth's blueprint for urban growth in the Western Bay.

It includes developer Bob Clarkson's 200ha property on the western side of SH29 at Tauriko. If everything went smoothly, the first sections could be on the market by about 2021, councillors were told.

''There is a lot of growth, we seriously need to get on with this,'' Mayor Stuart Crosby said.


SmartGrowth has also identified the rest of Keenan Rd in rural Pyes Pa for ''timely rezoning'' to residential, along with the prospect that nearby areas of Merrick Rd and Joyce Rd could also be rezoned for housing. The northern end of Keenan Rd within the city boundary was already zoned future urban.

SmartGrowth's core objective was to accommodate population and business growth and manage the future supply of land.

The council decision aligns with the roading investment business case being put to the New Zealand Transport Agency board meeting next month. The commencement of detailed planning this year for Tauriko West would depend on a ''positive outcome'' from the board.

The three growth areas would impact on SH29 over the Kaimais, SH2's Northern Link to Paengaroa and SH36 to Rotorua.

Te Tumu which comprises the rest of the Papamoa flats to the Kaituna River was the third area earmarked by SmartGrowth for future suburbs. Technical infrastructure planning for Te Tumu would begin within the next nine months.

Tauranga's compact city project led the long list of recommendations approved by the council on Tuesday. SmartGrowth's underlying philosophy to protect productive soils from urban sprawl meant it supported the council's project for residential intensification.

Mr Crosby said the compact city was absolutely critical. ''We need to progress elements post-haste, we cannot keep going into productive land.''

He said it was also critical that all the dots were linked together for roading.

A new discipline imposed on urban planning in the Western Bay will be the Government's proposed policy on urban development capacity. SmartGrowth will have to assess housing requirements and develop an intensification strategy with housing targets.

Council strategy manager Christine Jones said the work was being driven by an urgent need to bring more land to the market by 2021. The Government was looking at speeding up the Resource Management Act, with the Special Housing Areas legislation now in place for another three years.

Mr Clarkson said he was glad to see progress being made but was frustrated that he could have had 500 affordable houses on the market 18 months ago if the council had acted earlier on rezoning his land.

Mr Clarkson still planned to build 2200 houses on his block, including 500 discounted or affordable houses for working families. A further 800 houses were planned for a neighbouring farm.

Timetable for Tauranga's expansion into Tauriko West
- Infrastructure planning and RMA process 2016-17
- Planning change begins 2018
- Sections on the market 2021
- Begin technical planning to extend Tauriko Business Estate into Belk Rd 2016-17