Housing New Zealand is proposing to build 37 mostly double-storey high density houses on an area used as a public park in Whangārei once resource consents are approved.
The government agency bought part of Puriri Park in Maunu last June from the Ministry of Education and the 32,730sq m of land is zoned as residential, which means houses can be built on it.
The controversial development has angered Puriri Park Rd residents who say it will lead to a loss of a green space, "unsavoury" behaviour and the devaluation of their properties.
Under a draft plan Housing New Zealand released this week, the proposed development will comprise of 15 one-bedroom homes in three terraced and three duplex buildings and a further four, two-bedroom houses in two duplex buildings.
Duplex are two living units attached to each other.
There will be seven, three-bedroom homes comprising of three duplexes and one standalone and eight, four-bedroom houses on four duplex buildings.
The government department also has plans to build three, five-bedroom standalone homes.
The larger, standalone homes will be situated along the street front to match existing homes on either side of Puriri Park Rd while smaller houses will be built furthest away from the road.
Two Housing New Zealand staff dropped a letter and details of the housing development in letterboxes on Puriri Park Rd and side roads.
Prior to that, they briefed Whangārei mayor Sheryl Mai and Councillor Cherry Hermon as well as staff in the offices of local MPs Dr Shane Reti, Shane Jones and Kelvin Davis.
Housing New Zealand expects to lodge a resource consent application with the Whangārei District Council in April, start earthworks in spring, construction early next year and the new homes should be ready in early to mid-2021.
For sale signs have gone up on three houses — two directly across the road from the new development and another further along the road — and homeowners said they were selling because of Housing NZ's plan for state housing.
"The park should be left as it is because it's a valuable community space. It's such a nice quiet place," said a woman who's selling up after living on Puriri Park Rd for 45 years.
Apart from loss of green space, she said traffic in and out of that road from State Highway 14 would be terrible.
"The For Sale sign says it all," was the response from another homeowner who refused to comment further.
Another resident, Richard Morgan, said Housing NZ should not come in and "plonk" buildings in the middle of a park and expect people to say how good a job it was doing.
Save Puriri Park spokesman Trevor Reader said he has yet to see the latest correspondence from Housing NZ but said it's resource consent should be publicly notified.
Reti said the community understood the housing needs of people and were calling on the Whangārei District Council to publicly notify the resource consent so they could have a say.
"That doesn't seem like a big ask. There are some issues the wider community would like to discuss as part of the publicly notified process such as implications on traffic and infrastructure."
Under council rules, residential development on residential-zoned land was allowed as of right without a resource consent.
WDC chief executive Rob Forlong earlier said once the council received a resource consent application for the Puriri Park development, it would be processed fairly and in accord with the Resource Management Act and implemented though the district plan.
Under the Act, public notification is made if the effects of the proposal on the environment are assessed as being more than minor and written approvals of all those affected by the proposal haven't been obtained.
If the public is not notified, WDC only needs to notify those people who may be directly affected by it and only they can lodge a submission.
Key facts in the draft plan:
Construction of 37 homes comprising of one, two, three, four and five-bedrooms
Larger, standalone homes to be situated along the street front
Resource consent application to be lodged in April
Construction to start early next year
New homes expected to be completed early to mid-2021