Planet Fitness eyes Ridgewood for new gym

Ridgewood may be home to a new Planet Fitness, if a special permit the corporation is submitting to the Board of Standards and Appeals passes.
A representative from the company visited a Community Board 5 meeting in the Christ the King High School cafeteria in Middle Village on Wednesday, February 8, as the application has to win its members over first.
Board members were skeptical of the gym’s lack of off-street parking, but welcomed graffiti cleanup at its proposed site, 329 Wyckoff Avenue. The building is said to have the worst graffiti vandalism in the district.
“You realize you’re landlocked on two sides,” said board Chairman Vincent Arcuri, Jr. when asking about the parking situation. “I think that’s a problem.”
However, Josh Rinesmith, who spoke on behalf of Planet Fitness, said a study showed that 85 percent of its members who live in areas with mass transit use it for transportation to the gym, or they walk.
“Planet fitness tries to make itself accessible and affordable to all members of the community,” Rinesmith said, adding that the location is in close proximity to the M and L trains.
“Right now, the property owner is doing an extensive renovation,” he said. “Once that is complete, we’d like to be able to come in and renovate the rest of the interior of the building to have a fitness center.”
Planet Fitness would occupy a small portion of the first floor of the 29,000-square-foot two-story building for a reception area, and the entire second floor for physical activity.
The gym would occupy about 17,300 square feet in total, Rinesmith said. It would be wheelchair accessible.
The gym would operate 24 hours, seven days a week, with roughly 135 people per hour in its peak hours.
“We’ve been particularly well regarded and popular with municipal workers,” Rinesmith said, specifying “hospital workers who work these 12-hour shifts and are able to stop in and work out either before they go in to their late-night shifts or after.”
One board member asked if Planet Fitness would be willing to consult the local supermarket to possibly share its parking lot. Rinesmith said the company would be open to that idea.
As for the graffiti, “the least we would expect from anybody utilizing their property is to clear every inch of graffiti,” Arcuri said, “and maintain the cleaning. We need that kind of commitment before we can approve anything.”
The application will go before Board 5’s Zoning and Land Use Review Committee next.

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