Nearly 80 new affordable homes costing as little as $200,000 could be built in Pāpāmoa if a proposed special housing development goes ahead.

Developer Bluehaven Holdings has asked Tauranga City Council to make a vacant suburban residential site at 4 Emerald Shores Dr a special housing area.

Bluehaven bought the site in 2015 and initially gained resource consent for a three-stage subdivision with 41 houses.

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However, Bluehaven now wants to build 77 single-level detached dwellings on about 2.42 hectares of land developed under leasehold agreements.

The proposed development layout. Image / Tauranga City Council
The proposed development layout. Image / Tauranga City Council

Bluehaven chief executive Nathan York estimated the house prices would range from $200,000 to $300,000 on sections from 175sq m to 422sq m.

"This level of pricing is achieved through a fixed-term leasehold structure," he said.

York said the company proposed increasing the number of dwellings because it had "managed to achieve a better and more comprehensive design".

The proposed development would provide affordable housing for people aged 55 and older, York said.

"We are aiming to provide different housing typology into the area and building off the success of the Golden [Sands] Lifestyle Village," he said.

Golden Sands Lifestyle Village off Golden Sands Dr in Pāpāmoa provided affordable housing for up to 145 dwelling units.

York said each unit would have two bedrooms, a kitchen, bathroom, dining area and toilet as well as a single garage and additional on-site visitor parking.

The proposed development layout. Image / Tauranga City Council
The proposed development layout. Image / Tauranga City Council

The developer's application acknowledged increased traffic movement but noted the two-bedroom dwellings were unlikely to generate the same traffic as a standard household.

The proposed development would also include a 523sq m reserve extension adjacent to the existing reserve on Wairakei Ave.

The council said that would increase the local purpose reserve area to 1523sq m, "providing more usable space for the community".

Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless said the development would make it easier for people to get on the property ladder.

Brownless said the range of section sizes from 175sq m to 422sq m gave potential buyers a choice.

"Families will obviously want a bigger home but for people who are perhaps on their own they might like the idea of a smaller home," he said.

Pāpāmoa and Mount Maunganui ward councillor Steve Morris said 77 houses was more than what would generally be allowed on such an area of land.

However, he said the community consultation would determine what neighbours and nearby residents would like to see the developer doing to offset the extra density.

"It is a really good opportunity for residents to be able to demand some extra improvements down there for the right to develop some more homes down there," he said.

Morris said the proposed development provided more options for people to be able to exit the rental market or for seniors to free up some capital and lease their property.

The four-stage construction of Te Okuroa Dr would be complete by October, Morris said, which would help ease congestion in the area.

"By the time these houses come on stream there will be two road exits out of Pāpāmoa so not all the traffic will be coming out onto Papamoa Beach Rd," he said.

Western Bay of Plenty mayor Garry Webber on the SmartGrowth Leadership Group said the group encouraged the extension of the reserve adjacent to Wairakei Ave.

Webber said there needed to be enough green spaces including parks and reserves to make sure the neighbourhood was an attractive place to live.

"It is about providing the amenity value that meets the needs of not just this generation but the generations to come," he said.

Michelle Champness had lived on Wairakei Ave for about 12 years and said she had mixed feelings about the development.

The mother-of-three expressed concern that there would be more traffic in the area if the development went ahead.

"The build-up of traffic now is ridiculous," she said.

The council now needed to decide whether to recommend the proposal to the Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Phil Twyford.

The council would decide before the end of the year.

What is a special housing development?

Special housing areas are sites in the city that are suitable for new housing and able to be developed fast to increase housing supply.

Development of these sites can be fast-tracked under the Housing Accord and Special Housing Areas Act 2013, through an accelerated resource consenting process.

Bluehaven has six approved special housing areas in Pāpāmoa's Golden Sands area including 145 dwellings at Golden Sands Lifestyle Village and 180 dwellings at Freedom Village.

More information on the proposal and how residents can give their feedback can be found on the council website. The deadline for responses is 5pm on September 3.