WESTFIELD, NJ — The planning board has approved another year-long extension for Stop & Shop to act on a proposed expansion to its Elm Street location.

The board approved the change without discussion at its virtual meeting Monday. Last year, the company had asked to have another three years before it would have to act on its 2014 approval for the project or reapply to the board. The board then only approved a one-year extension.

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

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The proposal to expand the supermarket was the subject of a lawsuit in 2014, following the planning board’s 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 Matt Kadosh at mkadosh@tapinto.net | Twitter: @MattKadosh

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