Nearly 1900 new houses will be built in the Western Bay of Plenty under special legislation designed to grease the wheels of development.
Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith has agreed that seven subdivisions in Tauranga and one in Omokoroa will become Special Housing Areas.
Nearly all the focus in Tauranga will be on Papamoa East where developers have successfully tapped into the Housing Accords legislation to fast-track plans for at least 1700 new homes - boosting the population by about 4200 people.
The news follows an article in yesterday's Bay of Plenty Times about Papamoa East residents concerned at the state of the main road in light of the booming population. Click here to read that story.
Tauranga City Council's planning manager Andy Ralph said the big winners from Dr Smith's announcement were two industrial-zoned areas totalling 34.6ha.
The owners, which include Zariba Holdings, now had the option to build 430 homes on land which they previously would not have been allowed to do without lengthy re-zoning processes.
Mr Ralph said there would be no significant gains for the rest of the areas already zoned residential except for a small section of Nga Potiki's planned 21ha subdivision in Wairakei.
"It will assist in making things move a bit smoother."
Funding for the infrastructure needed for Papamoa was already in the council's long-term budgets to be repaid from development fees. The only change would be bringing forward construction of Te Okuroa Drive. Extending Te Okuroa Drive to Golden Sands was the single biggest bit of infrastructure costing over $15 million.
Greg Clarke of Palm Springs developer Hawridge said becoming a Special Housing Area would make a big difference to getting council services in quicker - hastening the timeline for development.
He expected that half of Palm Springs' 600 homes would be built within two years.
Mr Clarke expects Te Okuroa Drive would be finished a lot sooner than June 2018.
Palm Springs had just released its first 70 sections, with seven homes started and 10 more being permitted.
A further 70 titles would be available soon.
Carrus Corp's Scott Adams said they would probably end up with 102 sections on their commercially-zoned Papamoa Junction land. Mr Adams said they did not really need to apply for their land to become a Special Housing Area because they would have got a variation to their consent fairly easily.
"It bypasses the Resource Management Act processes. It has been a good outcome."