Officials are setting aside £730,000 to start working out the best way of building up to 3,000 homes in Lincoln's flood-prone Swanpool.
The initial money will be used to appoint a major development director to take the £250 million scheme forward, explore flood mitigation and decide what to do with Skewbridge tip, which is part of the earmarked 420 hectare site.
New flood defences will protect the homes, including 600 new affordable houses, business units, shops and community facilities on the Western Growth Corridor development.
Once complete, the overall estate would give the City of Lincoln Council an extra £840,000 a year in council tax revenue.
The authority is investing a total of £800,000 from unallocated housing funds to kick-start the project.
Andrew Taylor, chief executive, said: "The council has yet to progress the appointment of the development director as there are outstanding issues that firstly need to be addressed. The need for the post will be revisited in a few months.
"The council's work on identifying what is needed on flood mitigation and treatment of the tip area are already under way and we are awaiting technical reports. A budget of £100k is allocated for these pieces of work.
"These funds are being used to establish a comprehensive scheme which will ensure any risk of flooding is fully mitigated and that the correct infrastructure is in place.
"The land at Western Growth Corridor has been earmarked for development for more than 30 years.
"The proposal has gone through many planning processes where concerns have been raised and these are being addressed.
"It is understandable that people have concerns about the project, which is why it is so important these are addressed and that we deliver the development in an appropriate and successful manner."
Hartsholme ward city councillor Ron Hills (Conservative), who lives near the site, said: "The three-quarters-of-a-million pounds is not to do the project, it's just to work out how to do it.
"It's a fishing trip.
"The Environment Agency is saying that if you do everything we say, you can build on it and it would not flood.
"The developer would have to raise ground levels to the prescribed levels.
"How much soil are you going to have to move?
"It ain't going to be a wheelbarrow full.
"Then there's the tip.
"How much work are you having to do to make that safe? What's in there?
"There's also the question of access.
"Existing residents are demanding that it's not through Skellingthorpe Road."