Koutu residents are vowing to fight plans to build nine visitor-accommodation buildings on the shores of Lake Rotorua, saying the influx of tourists and traffic will disrupt their peaceful cul-de-sac.
But the company behind the development says it will cause little disruption to residents, is adding value to the area and will clean up the land, which has become an eyesore.
The buildings on the 0.5ha property at 54 Whittaker Rd would be split into 30 accommodation units and one manager's unit. Five of the buildings would be single-storey and four would be two-storey.
Auckland-based commercial property investment company River and Stone Holdings, led by Gavin Shi, lodged the resource consent application.
Speaking with the Rotorua Daily Post, Shi said he cared about Koutu residents and wanted to ensure his development satisfied all their requirements.
"We are happy to communicate with the residents and answer any concerns they may have."
The project is a discretionary activity under Rotorua's district plan, so residents with neighbouring boundaries have until tomorrow to submit responses to Rotorua Lakes Council.
The council said 17 requests for submissions were sent out in relation to the consent application and to date, no submissions had been received.
But it said it would not be uncommon to receive an influx of submissions in the last couple of days.
If submissions are made, issues raised will be considered. If submitters would like to be heard, a hearing before the commissioner/commissioners will take place before any further decisions are made.
The decision making sits with the commissioner.
Robyn Henderson's property shares a boundary with the project site and has submitted against it.
Henderson and her husband built their house on Whittaker Rd in 1987 on family land.
She said they had spoken to more than 20 people in their neighbourhood and all opposed the plans.
They wanted homes in the area, not tourist accommodation, she said.
"As residents, we already share our town with millions of visitors. This will bring strangers to a dead-end street, and extra traffic and less privacy."
In its resource consent application, River and Stone Holdings said the property was at a rear site and would "not be readily visible from the street". It also said Increased traffic generation would be adequately accommodated within the surrounding road network and the proposed activity was similar to the campground that was previously on the site.
The company said appropriate sediment control measures would be adopted to protect water quality from adverse effects of run-off during earthworks and no instability effects were envisaged.
Albert Matua Rice, 91, lives on papakāinga land on the other side of the road.
He said the site pegged for the development had "been a mess for a long time".
"I am glad that it could be tidied up, but not in this way. I am opposed to the height of the planned buildings and concerned that a lot of the runoff would go into the lake. I would just hate to see that happen."
Rice retired to Whittaker Rd 20 years ago, where his whānau, the Rikas, have lived for generations.
He said although there was a motor camp next door, it had a long history of co-operation.
"The new development, however, is another type of accommodation which will bring volumes of traffic and tourists to our quiet residential cul-de-sac. Our papakāinga has allocated shares to our family so they too will be affected.
"There is a lot of fragile land here due to the lakeshore, Utuhina stream, and the geysers. I don't think it needs to be disturbed for such a project."
Lani Kereopa, who co-owns land three houses down from the site, on the opposite side of Whittaker Rd, said the majority of homes there were papakāinga and the majority of whānau living on the road were Ngāti Whakaue.
She said the iwi hoped to build resources and assets back to the point where it could one day buy back homes and land in the area to raise tamariki in a papakāinga setting.
Kereopa said the visitor accommodation proposal would make the dream an impossibility because tourist accommodation was driving up the costs of land and homes.
Fellow Whittaker Rd property owner Denise Hapeta said traffic effects were one of her biggest concerns.
"My house is opposite the proposal. We already constantly have cars going up and down because of the campsite and lake access, particularly in the peak tourist season. There are also lots of little ones that live here or come to visit family, and we need to look after them."
It's not the first time Koutu residents have opposed accommodation plans in their suburb. In 2016 a resource consent application for a multimillion-dollar 100-room hotel on Bennetts Rd was refused after fierce opposition by locals.