EASTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) - A commercial project which has been "on hold" for almost 5 years because of legal wrangling may soon be able to get started in Hampshire County.
Stop & Shop first approached the Easthampton Planning Board with plans to build a supermarket, a gas station and a retail building in 2008.
After a series of public hearings, the Planning Board voted 3-2 to deny Stop & Shop's proposed project in 2009. The supermarket changed its development proposal by eliminating the gas station and the free standing retail building. The Planning Board approved that proposal in 2010.
But that project has been tied up in the courts after the owner of a dealership claimed that Stop & Shop representatives had improper communications with the board. Ken Cernak opposes the development saying the planned road work would hurt his business.
On Monday, Hampshire County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Kinder ruled in favor of Stop & Shop saying its representatives did not interfere or influence the board's decision.
We asked residents if they supported the idea of another supermarket in Easthampton.
"There's a grocery store just on the corner of Main Street, you know that little Pure Foods store," said Gale Wright of Westhampton. "And then Big Y is down the road, so I'm not sure that I'm really excited about it."
"Yeah, everybody has some legitimate reasons for and against it," said Paul Tatro of Easthampton. "As far as we are concerned, we support it. It would give people on this side of town easier access to something."
Easthampton's mayor supports the project saying it will bring in new tax revenue. But the project still has one more hurdle to clear. Next month, they'll debate whether it's legal to build a grocery store in what's designated as a highway business district.