The owner of Ralph’s Italian Ices and Ice Cream, a new business in the village of Mamaroneck that has become a lightning rod of controversy, is threatening to file a lawsuit against the village after the Zoning Board of Appeals voted to tighten the restrictions on the shop’s hours of operation and its zoning classification.
“They allow you to open a business and then make decisions without any kind of due diligence,” said owner Scott Rosenburg, a resident of Long Island. “I’ll file an appeal and I’ll sue them.”
The impetus for Rosenburg’s lawsuit comes after a determination by the zoning board on Monday, July 18 that requires that the shop owner must apply for a special permit by Aug. 17, otherwise he could face the revocation of his certificate of occupancy. The zoning board also decided to reduce the business’ hours from 1 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and from midnight to 11:30 p.m. on Sundays.
According to zoning board Chairman Barry Weprin, who spoke with the Review this week about the Ralph’s issue, board members acknowledged that the store—which is currently classified as a retail establishment—should not be classified as such under the village’s zoning code.
“The consensus among the board is that [Ralph’s] meets the definition of a food service establishment,” Weprin said.
Mayor Norman Rosenblum, a Republican, who has attributed many of the problems spurred by Ralph’s to the business’ unforeseen success, said that if the situation comes down to litigation, it could be bad for everyone.
“He has the same option as the residents to sue,” Rosenblum said. “[But] neither side is going to be happy.”
Rosenblum suggested that Rosenburg could file an Article 78 proceeding, which would appeal the zoning board’s decision and potentially land the two sides in court.
Despite a potential lawsuit looming, however, Democratic Trustee Leon Potok said that the village always takes precaution to guard itself against litigation.
“The outside attorneys retained to work with the [zoning board] and the other land use boards do a good job protecting the village,” Potok said.
Fervor over Ralph’s, which opened at 946 E. Boston Post Road in May, has bubbled to the surface over the past several weeks after what residents have highlighted as onerous traffic conditions, unsightly garbage, and disruptive noise levels as a result of the business..
A meeting held on July 18 drew dozens of village residents, who took the podium in front of zoning board members to voice their concerns on the matter and pleaded their case for revoking the business’ certificate of occupancy.
While Ralph’s must apply for the special permit before Aug. 17, it has been permitted to remain open in the interim.