A proposed high-density housing development for Pāpāmoa East has been met with a wave of opposition from residents who feel they have been shut out of plans that could devalue their homes.

In a proposal to Tauranga City Council, developer Bluehaven seeks to transform the site at 4 Emerald Shores Drive into a Special Housing Area. The change would enable the construction of 77 single-level detached dwellings on the 2.42ha piece of land under leasehold agreements. Originally, the plan was for 41 homes.

Submissions on the proposal closed on Monday evening. By last Friday, Tauranga City Council had received 55.

Read more: Proposed special housing development in Pāpāmoa, homes starting at $200,000
350 new homes coming to Pāpāmoa

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Murray Burnette lodged one on behalf of 34 people in his Pāpāmoa East street. He spoke for them also when he said the council needed to focus on ensuring the development had sufficient infrastructure first before signing off on the project.

Burnette said Papamoa Beach Rd - at present the only access in or out of Pāpāmoa East - badly needed maintenance and the entrance to the Tauranga Eastern Link or any other avenue was also needed.

"We know we need a lot more houses but ... the growth is so rapid, they need to slow down."

Burnette hosted a meeting with 21 residents and councillor Steve Morris this week about the development. Burnette said people had presumed they would be able to have a say under the Resource Management Act, but were dismayed to learn the potential move to a Special Housing Area would leave them without a voice.

"No one wants to see people on the streets," he said - but added there was a significant concern the value of neighbouring homes would drop.

"A lot of retired people, all of their savings are in their houses, so they are very worried."

Bluehaven bought the site in 2015 and gained resource consent for a three-stage subdivision with 41 houses. The new plans for 77 leasehold houses mean prices could be between $200,000 and $300,000.

The council's project leader urban growth, Janine Speedy, said there was enough capacity to cater for the 77 proposed new dwellings and there was no evidence this type of development would result in a loss of value for neighbours.

Speedy said there have been properties around a similar development in Pāpāmoa East which actually increased in value since construction and Te Okuroa Drive was expected to be completed by Christmas.

The city needs to consider higher-density development more as the region grows, she said.

"We also know that our demographics are changing – households are becoming smaller, and our population is ageing, so delivering different types and sizes of housing is becoming increasingly important.

"The proposed special housing area at Emerald Shore Dr is located within 400m of the future Wairakei town centre, and next to an existing bus route. We, therefore, consider that this location is a good candidate for greater density."

Bluehaven chief executive Nathan York said the development was aimed at people aged 55-plus to live within walking distance to the beach, at an affordable price. They made for "excellent neighbours, and we can see no reason why their presence should lower property values".

When asked what his response was to concerns neighbouring properties would be devalued, York replied: "We are already developing similar housing in Golden Sands with affordable homes in the $200,000 range, and yet this hasn't impacted the market value on larger family homes nearby."

By the numbers:

- 77 single-level detached dwellings on 2.42ha of land developed under leasehold agreements

- Houses will cost $200,000 to $300,000

- Aimed at providing housing for people aged 55 and older

- Proposed development will include a 523sq m reserve extension next to the existing reserve on Wairakei Ave