Ralph’s Italian Ice Shop, Embroiled In Zoning Battle, Defies Orders To Close

MAMARONECK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The owner of a Ralph’s Italian Ices and Ice Cream shop in Mamaroneck is defying a village order to close its doors.

The Boston Post Road shop has been caught up in a zoning battle.

Mamaroneck revoked the shop’s certificate of occupancy, meaning it should have been closed Friday.

But the shop’s owner, Scott Rosenberg, said they’re open.

“We’ll do what we have to do. We’ll go to court. We’ll keep protesting, keep letting our voices be heard,” Rosenberg told WCBS 880.

The shop was not being forced by police or officials to close, CBS2’s Erin Logan reported.

“Punishing us because we’re busy is not fair,” Rosenberg said.

Some in the community have complained the business created traffic and crowds.

“This is one of the most busiest intersections in all of our community,” said onetime mayoral candidate Dan Natchez, who has an office across the street. “You have three schools, which has heavy pedestrian traffic. It’s a dangerous situation.”

Following resident complaints, the village discovered it made an error and had approved the business as retail, not a food establishment.

Ralph’s applied to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a special permit, but was denied. The board said the popular shop “overwhelmed the capacity of the site and surrounding roads … creating dangerous conflicts and unsafe conditions for drivers, pedestrians, and customers.”

“I don’t think it’s as much of a problem as the five or so people around here are saying it is,” said Judy DiMicelli.

Rosenberg said shortly after he opened in May 2016 he addressed those concerns by closing earlier, fixing his parking lot, even closing off an entrance.

“We agreed to put a parking lot attendant in the parking lot so we had a constant flow,” he said. “We never had a problem. We closed one of the curb cuts, so now we only have two entrances — one in, one out — versus the three that were there,” Rosenberg said.

Rosenberg has applied for an emergency special hearing with the Zoning Board and said litigation remains an option.

“I understand both sides, but when there’s a will, there’s a way to work things out,” said customer Sandy Wollman.

Rosenberg said he does have a solution, even through it would cost him $100,000: To reduce the noise outside, he wants to bring the crowd inside by leasing the space next door and revamping his shop.

“But it’s fallen on deaf ears,” Rosenberg said. “We don’t want to go. We’re a huge asset to the community.”

On Thursday night, nearly 200 supporters holding signs reading “Honk for Ralph’s” and chanting “Let’s save Ralph’s” rallied along Boston Post Road. On Friday, people were still signing a petition to keep the shop open.

“I think it brings taxes to the community, and it just makes a lot of people happy,” said Carolann Ball.

CBS2 wanted to ask Norman Rosenblum on Friday if he will take measures to actually shut the place down, but he was nowhere to be found. Earlier this week, he said he was hoping the situation could be worked out.

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