A controversial development in Pāpāmoa East has passed a crucial council hurdle despite strong opposition from neighbours.

A Tauranga City Council committee has unanimously agreed to move forward with a Special Housing Area that would enable 77 leasehold units to be built on 2.42ha at 4 Emerald Shores Dr.

Developer Bluehaven originally planned to put 41 homes on the site.

Its increased density idea attracted opposition from neighbours whose concerns included infrastructure deficits - roading and stormwater especially - and the potential "ghettoisation" of the area.


Of 88 submissions on the plan, 69 were opposed - including two petitions with 38 and 77 signatures respectively.

The committee's blessing came with a proviso requiring the developer to enter into a "side agreement" locking them into criteria including:

- Building a road across the Wairakei Stream by end 2019, connecting to The Boulevard via Carronade St by end 2021
- Extending a neighbouring public reserve by 523sq m;
- Pricing 60 per cent of dwellings at under $300,000 (capital cost only).

New access roads that will give people in the development a route to Te Okuroa Drive and, from there, the highway. Graphic/NZME Base map/Tauranga City Council
New access roads that will give people in the development a route to Te Okuroa Drive and, from there, the highway. Graphic/NZME Base map/Tauranga City Council

The committee heard it would be the first time the council had included affordability criteria in a Special Housing Area deal.

Bluehaven chief executive Nathan York said the agreement was yet to be finalised but the company agreed in principle with the key requirements.

"We are thankful for the council's support. This is an exciting opportunity to present to the market."

The city transformation committee's decision on Tuesday will go to the full council for ratification then, once the side agreement has been signed, to Housing Minister Phil Twyford for the final go-ahead to start the resource consent process.

Pāpāmoa East resident Murray Burnette, whose Excelsea Pl home will border the development and who organised a petition against it, said he still had concerns.


He believed, however, that his biggest worries would be met if the council and developer stuck to the side agreement.

"My concerns will be mitigated if they make that agreement totally watertight."

The pressure would be taken off Papamoa Beach Rd by the developer's new road as well as the delay-plagued Te Okuroa Dr, currently expected to reach Livingstone Dr by February and Stevenson Dr by the end of 2021; as well as the Papamoa East Interchange.

Councillors noted the plan would help with Tauranga's lack of smaller houses appropriate for retirees.

Mayor Greg Brownless said success hinged on the developer and council ensuring they followed through with the commitments they made around infrastructure, roading especially.

'Life changing' units planned

The housing model planned for the proposed 77-unit development in Pāpāmoa East has proven "life-changing" for people living in a similar development, says Bluehaven.

Bluehaven chief executive Nathan York said the development would be aimed at people aged 55-plus seeking to sell their family home to "free up capital but still live in their own home".

Each two-bedroom home would come with a 30-year leasehold agreement on the land, and would be built to be removable.

The units on the edge of the development would be "enhanced" to better blend in with the surrounding neighbourhood, he said.

The feedback on a similar development in Kamahi Cres in Golden Sands had been that the opportunity was "changing people's lives", he said.

Development features

- 77 units
- 55-plus age of targeted buyers
- 9m maximum height
- 2 bedrooms
- 1 single garage
- 223sq m average section size
- 60 per cent priced at $300,000 or less
- 30-year duration of the lease on the land
- 1.8 person average occupancy per unit.
- 2020/2020 first people expected to move in.

Sources: Bluehaven, Tauranga City Council