North Shore City’s coastline has been subject to intensive development pressure over the last 15 years. In this time, new developments have established along previously undeveloped areas of coastline and existing sites have redeveloped with much larger houses. This paper provides a description of the planning controls that currently affect coastal development and an assessment of the effectiveness of these controls. This is followed by an analysis of the role of local government in controlling future development. Contention arises when attempts are made to control the property rights of landowners to protect their properties from coastal erosion. The impacts of private coastal protection works on the coastline have wider impacts than their immediate location and can influence public perception of the coastal environment. Coastal erosion is a prominent issue for North Shore City and this increase in development has increased the risk to both property owners and potentially the Council. Authorities are concerned that current coastal planning controls do not address coastal erosion to a great enough degree. A methodology for assessing change along the coastline is described and used to identify where planning controls are not being effective by using indicators such as the presence of coastal protection structures and signs of erosion. Alternative policy approaches are identified and evaluated using a cost-benefit analysis framework. It is envisaged that this preliminary cost-benefit analysis will identify policy aspects requiring future in-depth investigation. The practical implications for different policy approaches regarding coastal erosion and private property rights are also explored.