Rural Paki Paki residents are concerned a farmer's plans for a 35-home development could be the start of a new satellite suburb for Hastings.
Hastings farmer Peter Raikes is looking to develop land that will become designated as a "farm park" under the district plan on 111 hectares at the end of Turamoe Rd.
The development, about 12km from the Hastings CBD, will see 35 sections of about 2500 m2 each created on the area of hills and flat in a part of the substantial farm which Raikes describes as "unproductive land".
He plans to build it in stages over the next five years.
Paki Paki resident Lindsay Kay is concerned the 35 dwellings could eventually become 200, changing the rural character of the area dramatically.
"It's not a (farm) park at all, it's a subdivision really," he said.
The Hastings District Council Proposed Hastings District Plan states that residential farm parks in rural areas must retain 92 per cent of the parent site or amalgamated site. This means only 8 per cent of a farmer's land can be used for residential farm park development.
Kay is part of a local group who oppose the development.
"What we have out here is really special, the farming is important, and this may change if town comes to country.
"We have to preserve what we've got in terms of our environment; a subdivision is contrary to that," he said.
Kay, who said he speaks for more than a dozen people in the area, said residents were concerned about the effect of the subdivision on water sources, and the impact of new infrastructure on the landscape.
Raikes has not yet applied for resource consent for the farm park but will do so in the next few weeks.
Raikes said he was surprised by the opposition. He had sent letters out to roughly a dozen neighbours inviting them to a meeting about the development but had only one response from a person he has since been unable to contact.
Raikes said he wanted to develop the site to financially support his seven adult children.
He said the site cannot be used for the likes of orcharding.
"I think it's a wonderful vision, the big problem on the Heretaunga plains is that housing cannot keep expanding on top quality orcharding land.
"But here I have the ability to do the farm park - it's very dry and unproductive land and it's just what the region needs.
"It's what's needed, there's a shortage of housing," he said.
Raikes feels the hills are the obvious place for development to take place as Hastings grows, instead of productive soil.
In response to the concern that the development would grow further than 35 dwellings, Raikes said there was a future project in mind but he declined to comment on it.
Raikes said a dearth of infrastructure on the site was not an issue.
The road had recently been widened, he said, and as part of the application he would ask if an 80km/h speed limit could be put in place for safety.
There is an aquifer on flat land nearby which would supply the houses with water, he said.
He said any roads built would likely be at the back of the hills, largely out of view.
A resource consent has already been issued by the Hawke's Bay Regional Council for reconstruction of a one-way bridge at the entrance to the property.