A planning proposal to rezone land in west Kiama could lead to more than 1000 homes - a quarter of which will be set aside for key workers and those on lower incomes.
Traders in Purple is about to lodge a proposal for Springside Hill, a 114-hectare site bordered by bordered by Long Brush Road, Greyleigh Drive and Jamberoo Road.
Traders in Purple director George Geagea said those 1000 dwellings would feature a diverse housing mix, designed to cater to a variety of owners from single people, couples, families and those looking to downsize.
"At the centre of our proposal is our 25 per cent guarantee, which will set aside a quarter of all homes for key workers, first home buyers, and locals," Mr Geagea said.
"Around 20 per cent of homes are rented in the LGA, and the proposal will significantly increase the amount of affordable rental housing available in the market."
Mr Geagea said the availability of more rental accommodation would change the face of Kiama, allowing people who grew up in the town to stay rather than see themselves priced out of the market.
"There is an overwhelming feeling that locals and young adults will have to leave the area because housing is too expensive," he said.
"Local businesses can't find workers because there is nowhere affordable for them to live and the next generation of Kiama families is being forced out to pursue careers and establish their own households outside of the area."
Traders in Purple have created other projects in the Illawarra with a community component.
In partnership with Housing Trust they built Correa Gardens, an affordable housing development in Corrimal.
Now under construction is Northsea on Crown Street, developed in partnership with NSW Land and Housing Corporation and Housing Trust which will include 27 community homes.
Mr Geagea and fellow director Charles Daoud had bought the 1880s-era property Greyleigh, which sits within the footprint of Springside Hill, around five years ago and renovated it - turning it into a guest home.
But that wasn't the start of Mr Geagea's connection with Kiama.
"I've been very fortunate to have spent a lot of time in Kiama over the past 20 years," he said.
"We've always been long-time, long-term homeowners down there. We've had many homes and I currently have an apartment down there."
Mr Geagea said that connection to the town meant Springside Hill wasn't "just another project".
"We understand the sensitivity of the area, we understand the local landscape, the character," he said. "We're very much entrenched in this community and we share lots of friends who live within this community."
The planning proposal is only to see the land rezoned for residential purposes; any construction work will require a separate application.
Mr Geagea said Traders in Purple were taking the long-term view with this project.
"This is a project that will be delivered over decades," he said.
"This is not something that is to be delivered within five years or 10 years, we see this as a 20-plus year project. This is going to be a project that will be fulfilled over multiple decades."
One area that hampers new developments is the town's sewerage system; there are some parts of the local government area where no new connections are possible.
Mr Geagea said they had come up with an unusual solution to that problem - not tapping into the existing system at all.
"We've investigated heavily into an off-grid solution which essentially ensures that all the sewage infrastructure will be within the actual master plan and it [the sewage] will be recycled," he said.
"It essentially means that there won't be any overflow outside of the development."