A major renovation and expansion of the Edgartown Stop & Shop, slated to begin this fall, has been stalled by a lawsuit filed by an abutting landowner, Edgartown attorney Benjamin Hall Jr. Stop & Shop was granted a special permit in June for the 16,000-square foot expansion plan by the Edgartown planning board in what was thought to be the final hurdle for the supermarket project first proposed more than three years ago.

But in a complaint filed in Massachusetts Land Court on July 10, Mr. Hall alleged a variety of shortcomings in the way the permit process was handled and asked that a judge either annul the permit or send the matter back to the planning board.

Mr. Hall’s notice of appeal states that he “is an immediate abutter who resides in the adjacent residential neighborhood.”

According to Edgartown assessor’s records, Mr. Hall owns 14 Cyprien Way, a quarter-acre parcel behind Stop & Shop that shares a 92-foot border with property owned by the supermarket.

Abuter Benjamin Hall Jr. has appealed planning board approval. — Map by Graham Smith

Mr. Hall’s lot includes 1,356-square foot ranch home, assessed in 2018 at $537,600. In the lawsuit, Mr. Hall’s complaint says he lives on the property but that it is owned Courtway Trust, an LLC of which he is a trustee.

Stop & Shop first appeared before the planning board in October 2015 with preliminary plans for a huge expansion of its grocery store and a major redesign of its parking lots. The current store is just over 25,000 square feet in size, with about 18,000 square feet of retail space. The last major expansion of the store was in 1989.

The plans were reviewed and revised following several hearings with the planning board and the Martha’s Vineyard Commission. In late December 2017, the MVC approved the expansion plan under the condition that they would take another look at the proposed building design, require solar panels on the store’s roof, address traffic concerns, and build a fence to maintain quieter conditions for abutters.

Six months later, the town planning board closed a public hearing on the proposed design, which includes a 15,952-square-foot addition to the supermarket, relocation of a drive-through bank, increased parking spaces, and a complete redesign of the parking lot. The planning board voted 5-0 to approve the design under the stipulation that the lighting and landscaping plan would be reviewed and approved prior to the issuance of a building permit.

The decision also required Stop & Shop to construct a bus shelter for patrons in front of the Rockland Trust Building, keep traffic patterns in the front parking spaces the same and conduct a traffic monitoring study. The study would record east and west-bound traffic passing the site, traffic entering and exiting the store, wait times around the entrances and exits, and traffic flows through the parking lot.

After the commission and planning board signed off on the revised landscape and lighting plans in August, Stop & Shop was expected to begin work.

Shoppers stock up before Thanksgiving. — Mark Alan Lovewell

Asked about the status of the project this week, Douglas Finn, administrator for the Edgartown planning board, told the Gazette he could not comment because the project is in litigation.

In his appeal, Mr. Hall alleges that he did not receive notice of the special permit when it was sent to abutters on Jan. 5, 2018. Mr. Hall also claims that he raised concerns, through counsel, during the special permit application process. Those concerns included “increased noise and shadow and other impositions . . . caused by the building design and height.”

His complaint alleges other defects in the permitting process, including failure to hold a “quasi adjudicatory hearing” at which the applicants were sworn under the penalty of perjury and could be cross-examined.

According to the court docket, the parties to the case held a mandatory case management conference Sept. 14 to see if the dispute could be resolved short of trial. Two weeks later, Stop & Shop attorney Thomas Gorman advised the court that “the Stop & Shop defendants do not believe that this action is suitable for alternative dispute resolution or mediation at this time.”

Mr. Hall sent a subsequent letter on Oct. 1 indicating that “the plaintiff is unable to engage meaningfully in ADR discussions at this time.”

On Oct. 2, Judge Leon Lombardi sent notice that mediation would not take place, and that both parties should proceed with the discovery phase of the legal process. They have until Jan. 18, 2019 to complete discovery, while motions for summary judgment are to be filed on or before Feb. 19, 2019.