Apartments towers can rise around the North Shore's Milford Mall up to 12 levels high.
The Environment Court has issued its decision on the controversial residential scheme, allowing towers to go up in land now used for carparking at the shopping hub.
Mark Gunton's Milford Centre wanted to build blocks up to 17 levels but the decision says he is allowed to build up to a maximum of around 42m or about 12 levels with other surrounding slightly shorter towers in what is now the carparking area.
The court said it recognised the business owned a large site so it said it was approving a modified Plan Change proposed by Milford Centre but rejected by Auckland Council hearing commissioners.
The decision described how Milford Centre's Plan Change sought the biggest up to 17 storeys, alongside 13 or 14-levels and eight and nine-level blocks.
To achieve those heights, Milford Centre had acknowledged that high-quality design was essential, the decision said.
The court rejected the scheme to develop up to 17 storeys, equivalent to 60m but also turned down the council's call for a 35m tower of around 10 levels, coming in with a widely expected compromise.
"Overall....we conclude that a height of 60m has just too much impact on amenity and accordingly the court is reluctant to move too far away from the height of the council of 35m. After considerably discussion, the maximum that can be agreed between the members of the court is RL45m, the same elevation as that accepted for block five. The resultant building would thus be 42m in height," the decision said.
Residents in the surrounding areas had strongly opposed the blocks, saying they were inappropriate for the area.