Wellington waterfront advocates are bitterly disappointed over new building rules for North Queen's Wharf, which have been approved by three independent commissioners.
The change would allow certain resource consents to be approved without public notification, if the project fits height and design requirements.
A total of 48 submissions opposed the District Plan change, affecting the area between Queens Wharf and the railway station.
Part of the zone is being considered by the Hilton Hotel chain, which is keen for a new attempt to enter the Wellington market.
Mary Munro, a member of Waterfront Watch which opposes the development, says she does not see many more hurdles for that project now.
She says appealing the case to the Environment Court would be expensive, but will be considered.
Wellington Waterfront Limited chief executive Ian Pike says the plan change will help streamline development.
Mr Pike says the Hilton's New Zealand-based developer is very pleased with the commissioners' report.
Mayor Kerry Prendergast says this confirmation should remove any doubts in the community, of a council desire to privatise the waterfront.
She is hopeful of councillors voting in favour of the proposal next Wednesday.