Plans for a Flood Protection Scheme for Stonehaven will not face a public inquiry, after assessment by Scottish Ministers.
The government has said it is content with the plans and the processes taken to reach the final proposed design.
Following a decision to agree the scheme in principle, Aberdeenshire Council had to notify ministers of its position, given outstanding objections from some residents.
After consideration of all the documentation relating to the plans, they decided not to call in the scheme for a Public Inquiry.
Instead, they have referred it back to the council to hold a public hearing.
An independent reporter will be appointed to hear all arguments and make a recommendation, which will then be reported to the appropriate council committee.
Designed to protect residential, non-residential and commercial land from a 1 in 200-year flood event, the scheme has been in preparation for a number of years.
Given the need to hold a public hearing, it is unlikely that works on the ground will start before mid to late 2017.