55,000 homes for South Auckland
Housing for a city bigger than Tauranga could be wedged between Drury and Pukekohe.
The council's Auckland Plan committee is expected to approve plans tomorrow for development of the rural-urban boundary in South Auckland.
Plans for the "southern cluster" of towns, which includes Pukekohe, Karaka, Drury and Paerata, are the first to get underway as part of the council's growth strategy to accommodate an extra million residents in the next 30 years.
The area is expected to boast about 55,000 new homes and will create 35,000 jobs.
There is about 5000 hectares of land around Drury and Karaka, and 3500 hectares in Pukekohe and Paerata, to be investigated for development.
There will also be a "western cluster" which includes Whenuapai, Kumeu, Huapai and Riverhead, and a "northern cluster" which includes Warkworth and Silverdale West.
Ian Bayliss, the council's principal strategic planner, has asked the council to approve four options that would be used to consult with ministers, tangata whenua and local authorities.
Each option aims to create the same number of houses and jobs, but has different development approaches.
Option one would expand to the east of Drury, and avoid coastal margins and elite soils.
Under option two, coastal land around the Pahurehure inlet would be developed.
Karaka North Peninsula could be turned into urban land under option three - but could face environmental challenges on the sensitive coastal areas, the meeting agenda says.
Option four looks to Pukekohe's northeastern boundary, at an area of more than 650 hectares - but its rolling, less stable land could add to development costs.
According to Bayliss, weighing in the southern cluster's favour is its mostly flat land, access to the main trunk railway line and State Highway 1.
He also highlights the area's "attractive rural, coastal and countryside living environments" and its rural productive sector.