Hall sues Stop & Shop again, aims to pause construction

An abutter to the Stop & Shop in Edgartown argues the expansion project’s construction started after the approval’s expiration date. — Abigail Rosen

Updated 7/26

A recent lawsuit filed by Courtway Trust on behalf of Benjamin Hall Sr. aims to freeze the Edgartown Stop & Shop expansion project, which after lengthy delays — due to Hall’s previous suit — commenced earlier this month.

The project, which consists of numerous phases, involves the demolition — and later rebuilding — of the abutting Rockland Trust Bank, regrading of the site, subsurface utility installation, and the construction of a 17,432-square-foot addition to the existing supermarket’s 25,259 square feet. 

The lawsuit, filed at Dukes County Superior Court on July 11, names Stop & Shop, the Edgartown building inspector, Stop & Shop’s local attorney Geoghan Coogan, William J. Cummings, WJG Realty Trust, and the Martha’s Vineyard Commission in the complaint.

Per the suit, abutter Benjamin Hall Sr., via his son Benjamin Hall Jr., argues that the expansion project is in violation of the agreed-upon conditions placed by the MVC when it was approved in 2018. Particularly, Hall argues that the onsite work surpasses the two-year limitation regarding commencement of construction. 

“It appears to the plaintiff that the Stop & Shop defendants continue to behave in a manner that would suggest they intend to commence soon construction under the building permit from the building inspector, despite the fact that the decision no longer has any validity,” the lawsuit states. “Under the MVC Act, the Applicant must again be referred by a municipal development permit granting authority in order to seek MVC authority to, once again, proceed further with its proposed project.”

Included in the MVC’s conditional approval of the project is indeed a “length of validity” decision, citing that “if construction does not occur during [a two-year period], this decision shall become null and void and have no further effect.” However, the MVC also states “this time period may be extended upon written request from the applicant and written approval from the Martha’s Vineyard Commission.” 

According to MVC executive assistant and developments of regional impact (DRI) administrator Lucy Morrison, commissioners had relayed a vote in favor of extending the approval’s validity until 2023, although no written decision of the vote was made available when inquired about by The Times. Most recent court files cite a pending disposition. As of Monday, the supermarket expansion remains ongoing. 

Benjamin Hall later explained in a call with The Times that the intent of the lawsuit is to hold the MVC accountable for changes made in the approved project without the reopening of a new public hearing, which is typically required in similar circumstances. Specifically, there “have been changes made to the [construction] plan after the MVC decision had been filed and finalized … sufficient, and major changes made to the construction plans,” he said, that impact not only his father, but other abutters as well. 

Additionally, according to Hall, abutters were not notified of the changes. He said that the MVC failed in their charge of following any “fundamental notion of due process.” 

The expiration date, Hall argues, was part of the expansion approval, deeming it unalterable without a new proposal and further public input. Hall says the decision to extend the validity of the project was made after the set time limit, making it null and void. 

“A decision by an administrative tribunal, like the MVC, has a certain amount of finality,” he said. “If the decision itself has expired, then all the provisions that gave them leave to extend it — inside the decision — also expired.”

Updated to include comments from Ben Hall Jr.  -Ed.


  1. Not only do the Halls allow their properties to deteriorate they prevent others from improving theirs. Isn’t there a word for this in the Bible?

  2. Sadly at 71 years old and a native of Edgartown I doubt that in my lifetime that I will ever see the Halls try to improve anything!

  3. Interesting that someone with enough money can hire enough lawyers who can legally delay a project long enough that the original permit expires, and then make the whole process start over.
    All for the benefit of their own interest, while denying something thousands of people will benefit from.
    How does a human brain deteriorate so far as to not understand that one’s self interest does not supersede the needs of the community in which they live?
    A few hundred years ago, these people would have been publically tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rial.

  4. I don’t think there could be a worse place on the island for the increase of cars and trucks than that stretch of road. Although I don’t agree with the Hall’s on many issues, slowing this project seems to benefit all. To be honest about commenting, I am bothered by their business strategy, merchandising strategy and staff advancement practices. All very un-Vineyard.

    • Or simply put in roundabouts at either end of Stop & Shop’s parking lot, that way drivers may safely cross or turn into traffic on Main Street. Would solve traffic problems right now.

  5. Stop & Shop should give up enough land to create a long left-turn lane into their parking lot.

    • Funny how no one ever asks Cronig’s to lower their outrageous prices so people in Chilmark didn’t have to drive all the way to Edgartown to do our weekly marketing. The Edgartown S&S is great— good selections, fair prices, great sales, and the cleaning products are in the same store— all with wide aisles and friendly, helpful employees. I’m usually done shopping by 7:30AM on a weekday, so no traffic, easy entering and exiting the lot, convenient parking, and an uncrowned store. Most all shoppers are old and at risk like me and are wearing masks that early in the morning, so that’s another benefit to the store. They open at 6AM. I also support our local farms up-island, but still need to do a big shopping, especially when family visits. I no longer eat in restaurants and rarely get take-out, so the S&S gets my business. I find driving into VH, even early in the morning, more of a hassle in summer, so I don’t go it, plus the smaller VH S&S doesn’t carry what I need. Vineyard Grocer is a zoo early in the morning, the store is cramped with workers, and no one wears a mask, but I used to shop there a lot before the pandemic. I love VG, but parking and crowded aisles stopped me from going. They have delivery, but I like choosing my own fresh foods. I know people love Reliable, but it’s inconvenient for me. Why people don’t stand up more for S&S is beyond me, but then again, the island turned its nose at a bigger, better VH S&S, so it’s no surprise when some folks think the Halls behavior is fine. Go figure.

  6. The Halls should spend their energy renovating the many commercial properties that they have on island.

  7. I don’t understand how noone as compassion for the the abutters. Do we really need a much larger Stop & Shop? I thought MV has fought commercial enterprises from establishing themselves on the island in order to retain it’s original beauty.
    I believe this expansion should be not allowed in this location. A huge commercial project such as this belongs up in the industrial park at the airport where it won’t impact the islands original charm and beauty and further impact the traffic flow through this corridor.

    • Have you seen the traffic up there? Have you tried getting in and out of the airport or onto WT Road from Barnes Road? The Stop & Shop is fine where it is and it’s already been approved anyway.

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