A Hutt City Council plan to allow the western end of the Petone esplanade to be developed for retail and residential sites has critics worried about natural disaster risks.
The council wants shops and apartment buildings up to 10 storeys high along the seafront, which sits on the Wellington faultline.
Green Party list MP Holly Walker, who lives in Petone, says earthquake and liquefaction dangers in the area are significant.
But a natural hazards scientist at GNS Science Graham Leonard says if developers adhere to strict earthquake codes then buildings should be able to withstand a large quake.
The councillor who developed the plan, Roger Styles, says it will bring jobs and money into the town.
But Roy Hewson of the Petone Historical Society says he is worried it will kill business in the historic town centre.