The businessman hoping to open a Peachwave Yogurt Shop at 279 Purchase Street must first prove to the Rye City Planning Commission that the existing parking in the area will be sufficient to serve the new store.
Greg Roberts, a Danbury resident, would lease the former driving school space from its owner, Eric Coppola, and turn it into a Peachwave within four to six weeks after Planning approval, he said.
Roberts faced some public opposition when about 20 residents expressed concern over traffic and parking at the Jan. 8 Planning Commission public hearing, but is confident he will prove that parking and traffic will not be an issue, he said.
“There is a misconception that it was going to be a Dunkin Donuts,” Roberts said. He explained that he had presented the Planning Commission with a study on what traffic and parking might look like if a Dunkin Donuts were to move in to that location in order to show the most high traffic scenario.
“People were under the impression we would impact morning rush hour but we don’t open until 11 a.m.,” Roberts said. “I can understand that would be a concern but our use is not a Dunkin Donuts or a Starbucks. We operate on kind of off peak hours.”
Roberts expects the highest traffic to come after lunch and after dinner. He also addressed some concerns over the businesses refuse, stating they won’t have much more than cups, spoons and napkins, which will be trashed in the buildings dumpster.
In 2006, Eric Coppola bought the abandoned gas station at the location, cleaned it up and developed it into a retail space on the first floor, said David Cooper of Zarin and Steinmetz law firm, Coppola’s attorney. At that time, the Planning Commission said it would approve Coppola for 16 parking spots on site but that if he were ever to put a food-based retail there he would need to return to the Commission to prove the parking would be sufficient and get a new approval.
There are 93 two-hour or less parking spaces along Purchase and surrounding streets, Roberts said. His consultants did counts of availability of those spaces throughout the day and counted about 70 to 90 open spaces. There are also 16 open parking spots in the lot on site, which would be shared with Blooming Nails Salon.
“Based on the number of people we expect at a time, if it is more than ten at a time that is a big rush. Generally, there will be enough parking on our site to accommodate customers,” he said.
The Planning Commission told Roberts they would hire a traffic consultant to look at his report and keep the public hearing open, he said. The project is expected to be on the Jan. 22 meeting agenda.
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Roberts describes Peachwave as a high-end, family friendly self-serve yogurt store that has a strong commitment to cleanliness and community. There are about 60 Peachwaves open in the country, including two in Connecticut, in Ridgefield and Fairfield. This would be the first Westchester location.
The store would have eight yogurt machines and feature 16 flavors that will alternate on a ten-day rotation based on seasonal flavors. Technological features like video cameras that project customers faces on a big screen and iPads for people to provide feedback will set his Peachwave apart from other yogurt chains, Roberts said.
“Our goal is not to become just another frozen yogurt spot. We see this as a rye destination, family-centric and our market is local,” he said.
Calls and communications sent to the Rye City Planning Director and Planning Commission Chair were not returned by the publication time of this article.
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