Council decision on timing of Smiths Farm development
Today Tauranga City Council discussed possible options and timing for the development of Smiths Farm, a council-owned property in Bethlehem. Smiths Farm is a Special Housing Area under the Housing Accord, and as such can be developed for suburban residential housing. The underlying zoning of the site through the City Plan is rural residential.
The proposed route of the Tauranga Northern Link project (TNL) – 6.8 kilometres of new state highway from Te Puna to the tolled section of Takitimu Drive in Tauranga – runs through the lower undevelopable part of the Smiths Farm site. Construction of the TNL is expected to begin in 2018 and be completed in 2021.
Council today decided to align the suburban residential development of Smiths Farm with the development of the TNL. Coordinating the delivery of both projects will allow a coherent overall outcome. The NZ Transport Agency will contribute to the funding, design and delivery of local road access, and it is expected that Council will achieve a higher value for the property sale than if it attempted to sell the property before the TNL is completed. The timing of works on Smiths Farm will depend on the NZTA’s planning for this part of the TNL (i.e. when they build the part running through Smiths Farm).
Mayor Stuart Crosby is satisfied that this decision will deliver the best outcomes for the project and the community.
“Progressing Smiths Farm ahead of the TNL would have created cost and risk for any residential development, and for the TNL project. Quite the contrary, coordinating the delivery of both projects will bring cost benefits and a better overall result for the area and surrounding communities.”
Delaying the development means that the developable part of the site will need to be rezoned through the City Plan, instead of being developed under the Special Housing Area legislation. To facilitate this future process, Council staff will apply for resource consent for suburban residential development under the Housing Accord before it is repealed in September 2016.
Council will then go through a fully notified RMA Plan Change process to rezone the site for suburban residential development. Once this is done, and once more is known of NZTA’s planning for the TNL development, Council will make further decisions on the sale / development of the urban residential site, including whether to sell the land to a developer, partner with a developer or undertake the development itself. In the meantime, Council will go ahead with the development of rural residential buffer lots between Smiths Farm and the existing Westridge subdivision.
Published: Tuesday, 17 May 2016 16:00 by Tauranga City Council