North Shore's maritime suburbs Devonport and Bayswater have been given the thumbs down as sites for future intensive residential developments by a regional growth inquiry.
Representatives of seven councils on the inquiry panel say that although Devonport is a key transport node because of its busy ferry wharf, letting it be zoned for a high-density town centre would clash with its unique heritage values.
The panel sees Devonport as a special exception to the regional strategy of encouraging growth along transport nodes.
It says the Auckland Regional Council accepts the village's exclusion because of its strong heritage values and the fact that public transport is well patronised there.
Bayswater, which has had a ferry service since 1997, is also considered an exception to allowing intense development on a passenger transport node.
Bayswater Marina Development sought district plan wording changes to enable high density and mixed use development within and around passenger transport nodes.
The company is also appealing to the Environment Court against the city council's non-residential zoning for reclaimed land adjoining a 400-berth marina.
A company spokesman last night declined comment until he had read the panel decision.
The panel said although pressure might come to bear for a change to the character of the Bayswater reclaimed area and the adjoining end of the Bayswater Peninsula, a wide range of issues needed to be resolved.
"These include the future use of navy housing, volcanic view shafts across the peninsula and traffic constraints on Lake Rd.
"It would be inappropriate for the district plan to give the green light to Bayswater as a centre for intensification, in advance of those issues being resolved."
The panel's decisions are endorsed by the city council.
"It's basically what the council wanted and we will continue with the planning we have under way," North Shore Mayor George Wood said last night.
"Devonport is no longer a growth centre, Bayswater may or may not have growth in the future and Long Bay is not a growth centre but maybe in the future."
Mr Wood said the plan changes inquiry came about because the Local Government Auckland Amendment Act required all councils to integrate their transport and land use provisions and ensure they were in step with the regional growth strategy.
He said North Shore was focused on centre plans for Takapuna, Albany, Highbury, Browns Bay and Devonport. "How we are going to find the funds to upgrade our town centres is something else."
The panel also added Albany Village, Mairangi Bay, Torbay, Greenhithe and Long Bay to the list of town centres but noted they were likely to be longer term prospects.
The Long Bay recommendation will be considered by the Environment Court, which is hearing four appeals against decisions of the city council over its housing development plan for rural land behind the regional park.