Stop & Shop asked to have another three years before it must act on its 2014 approval for the project or reapply to the board

WESTFIELD, NJ – It may be at least another year before the Stop & Shop on Elm Street expands – and likely longer.

The Planning Board on Tuesday approved a one-year extension for Stop & Shop Supermarkets LLC to act on its 2014 approval for an expansion of its location at 219 Elm St. or apply again to the town, a move that follows a court decision in Stop & Shop's favor.

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Board attorney Alan Trembulak said Stop & Shop had asked the board to extend the deadline for the company by three years. The law allows for a board to grant up to three one-year extensions for the approval, Trembulak said.

The board approved an extension until July 2, 2020.

ARCHIVE: Judge Dismisses Case Against Westfield Stop & Shop

It was not the first time the supermarket’s proposed expansion has been pushed back.

The proposal to expand the supermarket was the subject of a lawsuit in 2014, following the Planning Board’s 2013 initial approval of plans to build an 18,219-square-foot addition to the building and add 45 parking spaces to its lot.

In 2013, James Hughes – a “strawman” for Village Supermarkets Inc., which runs ShopRite with a location in nearby Garwood – filed the suit. A state court judge in Union County ruled against Hughes.

Hughes had claimed that Stop & Shop’s proposal did not comply with state and local noise codes and that the plans did not include enough parking.

In 2015, Superior Court Judge Karen Cassidy ruled in favor of Stop & Shop. Hughes appealed, and an appellate court upheld Cassidy's decision.

The appellate ruling issued June 30, 2017, states that there was insufficient evidence for Hughes' argument.

"There is substantial credible evidence to support the board's findings," the decision says. "And its decision to grant the application was not arbitrary or capricious."

Email Staff Writer Matt Kadosh at mkadosh@tapinto.net; Follow him on Twitter: @MattKadosh

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