The quiet smooth streets of Tauranga's newer subdivisions will eventually be replaced with rough chip seals.
The council has been forced to backtrack on a decision made last month to stick with its policy of like-for-like road reseals.
It did not count on the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) saying that it would only subsidise reseals up to the level of chip seals, and not the more expensive asphalt hot mix.
At yesterday's meeting, the council decided to drop like-for-like reseals after it learned it would cost ratepayers an extra $825,000 over the next three years to reseal asphalt with asphalt.
The NZTA wrote that increasing its investment in like-for-like reseals did not align with the Government's policy to achieve value for money from its investment in roading.
It meant that all low-volume residential roads that were currently in hot mix will be resealed in chip seal once the original surface wore out. Main roads would not be affected and the turning circles in cul-de-sacs would also be resealed in harder wearing and quieter asphalt.
First to feel the impact of abandoning like-for-like will be Bayfair Estate, which was developed in the 1980s.
The council's draft 10-year plan originally favoured chip seals replacing hot mix but the council reverted to the status quo of like-for-like after receiving public submissions on the issue.
Councillor Larry Baldock tried to buy time on the issue because the impact on the next financial year of the NZTA's position was $69,000.
Mr Baldock proposed the council continue like-for-like for another 12 months, saying it should not be bullied by the NZTA but do what was right for the community and what the community was prepared to pay for.
He suggested a targeted rate, saying it would cost each ratepayer an average of $10 a year to retain hot mix on low-volume city streets.
This was disputed by Councillor Rick Curach who put the figure at $30.
Mr Baldock said the council did not have the information to get the best decision and that 12 months could be spent with engineering staff investigating the issue with the NZTA, including cheaper smooth alternatives to asphalt.
Mr Curach said residents in high quality areas treasured their urban environment and resealing in chips would be a disaster in terms of neighbourhood amenity. He said 23 per cent of city households would eventually be affected by dropping like-for-like reseals.
Councillor David Stewart supported a year's "breathing space", saying that although like-for-like was not sustainable in the future, there was still a bit of discussion to go.
However, Councillor Tony Christiansen said no matter what councillors decided now, it was inevitable they would have to accept chips seals.
"I live on a chip seal road and I am proud of it. I drive on both roads and it makes no difference ... I don't know why we are worrying about this so much."'
Councillor Bill Grainger said people were telling the council to look after their needs and not their wants. Mr Baldock's move was lost 7-4 and a follow-up attempt by Mr Curach to keep like-for-like where affected communities funded the difference in cost was lost 9-2.