Battle over ordered closure of Ralph's Italian Ice in Mamaroneck

MAMARONECK, New York (WABC) -- In Mamaroneck there's a whole lot of screaming about ice cream.

There's a bitter fight over the tasty treats served at Ralph's, or at least about its location.

Village officials have ordered Ralph's to shut down sometime this week, which has some customers coming in for last licks.

"It's terrible because any business that starts around here it doesn't seem to last, and this is a nice place," a customer said.

"It's convenient because we can walk from our houses, sit down, have some ice cream and go home," said Jen Sabino, customer.

But this is the source of controversy: too many cars, too many people, too much noise late into the night.

Ralph's sits on busy Boston Post Road, but there are homes surrounding it.

Some residents complain about the traffic and have set up cameras to capture what they say are unsafe conditions.

The owner of the franchise says he's improved parking in his lot, hired attendants to help manage traffic and scaled back their hours of operation.

"Everybody loves us except for five people. It's five neighbors against thousands and thousands of people," said Scott Rosenberg, the owner. "Do the math. It makes no sense."

Scott Rosenberg says he's invested a half million dollars transforming a shuttered gas station into a popular destination.

But opponents successfully challenged Rosenberg's permit, which classified the business as a retail store, not a restaurant.

The mayor who has no control over the Zoning Appeal Board disagrees with the decision.

"Some people are dead set against it, others are for it and neither is 100-percent correct. There are legitimate concerns," said Norman Rosenblum, Mayor of Mamaroneck. "The question is how to address those concerns. It's called mitigation."

Facing a deadline, the owner says he's considering legal options.

"Stringing me along for a whole year to shut us down is wrong," Rosenberg said.
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