Katikati is running out of land for housing and more needs to be zoned to keep up with the town's growing population, the district council says.
But a local developer says people are "only trickling into Katikati" and he does not believe more land for housing is as big an issue as the council is making it out to be.
Western Bay of Plenty District Council said recent residential growth in Katikati was higher than expected, at nearly 60 new homes approved each year.
"At this rate, there is approximately five years' worth of residentially zoned land available – assuming that all vacant lots are developed, which is unrealistic," Phillip Martelli, the council's resource management manager, said.
The council is holding an open day next week to hear what the community thinks about possible areas for residential development.
Land shortages pushed up prices, Martelli said, which added to affordability issues, "which is why we are undertaking this zoning project at the moment".
He said developers were interested in Katikati but were concerned about the land shortage.
The council had carried out feasibility studies for a number of areas, including:
• Busby Rd and Henry Rd
•Park Rd (dairy farm)
•Beach Rd and Pukakura Rd (adjoining dairy farm)
•Other areas along Beach Rd (including along the harbour edge)
•State Highway 2 market garden
Martelli said the town's population was projected to grow to as much as 6810 people by 2043 and "could grow further".
Katikati has about about 4700 residents, according to Statistics New Zealand.
"To cater for this growth we need more space for new lots, which means we need to make zone changes now," Martelli said.
"We need to identify land which is feasible for development, rezone it to residential and service it so houses can be built when needed."
But developer Anton Mitchell said three or four subdivisions were starting in Katikati in the next year or two and would probably provide about 100 sections in total.
"I honestly don't think it is as urgent as what the council sometimes make it out to be."
Mitchell, whose company is developing Sophia Rose Estate and Alexandra Estate in Katikati, said planned subdivisions would keep things "ticking over" for a while.
"I don't think it's super, super urgent."
Western Bay mayor Garry Webber said he thought the community's response to the zoning project would be "reasonably positive".
He said a large dairy farm is already zoned for residential, but the owner has no intention of converting it so the council has to look at other options.
Housing affordability was a Bay of Plenty-wide issue, Webber said, and it was about getting the balance right between supply and demand.
"When you haven't got enough land zoned for future development then it tends to, on occasion, have an impact and we just want to make sure that we don't get into that space."
Open day and feedback
• The open day will be held at the Katikati Community Centre on May 9 from 3pm-7pm.
• Maps, information, and the ability to provide feedback will be online at haveyoursay.westernbay.govt.nz from May 8.
•Feedback will be open until May 31.