Compact city policy is central to current metropolitan strategic planning, yet higher density housing in existing urban areas has been subject to significant resident opposition. This has put new focus on the extent and nature of resident influence over planning processes. There are a variety of policy positions in relation to resident input in planning processes within and across jurisdictions in Australia and overseas. However, there is limited research exploring the effectiveness of these different planning approaches in terms of housing supply or participatory planning outcomes. Drawing on data collected in Melbourne, this paper synthesises the results of a research project conducted for the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) exploring the impacts of third party opposition on housing supply and participatory planning approaches in relation to higher-density and social housing. This paper focuses explicitly on the planning implications of this work and develops a new comparison of three dominant planning approaches in the management of resident opposition: reactive participation; bypassing participation; and proactive participation. Using a mixed methods approach that integrates metropolitan-wide planning permit activity with site-specific case studies and stakeholder interviews, we explore characteristics of these participation models and implications for compact city policy and participatory planning. The paper contributes a metropolitan-scale understanding of resident engagement in the delivery of higher density housing. We find significant limitations in the ability of existing development assessment to balance the delivery of compact city outcomes with participatory planning goals.