About 500 apartments, in 12 buildings from four to 11 storeys, are set to be built in a staged development of former Caringbah High School land after agreement was reached in the Land and Environment Court.
The developer appealed after Sydney South Planning Panel refused the development application (DA) for the site, which the Education Department sold for about $20 million in 2012.
The DA includes the concept master plan and Stage 1.
Initial conciliation between the developer and Sutherland Shire Council failed before agreement on amended plans was reached in late August.
Commissioner Tim Horton accepted the agreement, upheld the appeal and granted development approval.
The developer was ordered to pay agreed council costs of $10,000 within 21 days.
The initial masterplan, which was released in 2016, included 656 units, but the plans have been amended several times, particularly after the adjoining Caringbah Bowling and Recreation Club, which was to be part of the project, pulled out.
About a dozen objections to the final plans were received from nearby residents for reasons including loss of views, "overdevelopment" and the traffic impact.
The project includes a mix of one, two and three-bedroom units around a village green.
Commissioner Horton was satisfied the project was "in the public interest".
It provided a variety of dwelling types, layouts and orientations, a cafe in Stage 2 and a range of communal spaces, he said.
Mr Horton said the design was "contemporary aesthetic with suitable transitions in height, modulation and articulation in the form, building separation and variations in materials that is consistent or compliant with the Apartment Design Guide."
"The built form is in a landscape setting that retains a large number of native canopy trees, and provides new areas of planting, common open space and public domain spaces," he said.
Mr Horton said the proposed development sought to minimise the amenity-related impacts on adjoining properties.
Developer Michael Nasser welcomed the resolution of the long-running battle with the council.
"Everything they wanted, we said 'yes' to," he said.
"The whole thing is done and we want to progress and move forward, rather than be difficult."
Mr Nasser said he hoped for work to start early next year.
A council spokesman said, "The outcome, through the court's conciliation process, follows four years of discussion on the development application and a number of significant amendments.
"The approval will see this now dilapidated site transformed over a number of stages into contemporary housing with a high level of amenity that will support Caringbah centre."