Theater Barn expansion an easy OK

The Planning and Zoning Commission didn’t take long at its meeting Tuesday night to approve plans to renovate and expand the Ridgefield Theater Barn.

The commission unanimously passed a revision to the building’s special permit to allow a 1,217 square-foot addition to the town-owned building that the community theater rents for $1 per year.

“With the additional space, we’re going to be able to offer more programming and more classroom space,” said Wayne Leiss, the theater’s executive director.

“There won’t be any expansion of the parking and the maximum number of people in the building won’t increase as the new programs won’t run concurrently,” he added.

Steve Coulter photo

Steve Coulter photo

That was enough for Commissioner John Katz who moved to approve the special permit application after less than five minutes.

Town Planner Betty Brosius added that the vote could be made as a final decision, not as a draft to be approved at a subsequent meeting.

“Best of luck to you,” said Commissioner Peter Chipourus.

The theater barn, located on 37 Halpin Lane in a converted small dairy barn, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

The non-profit’s expansion plans include a new blackbox theater area for smaller, intimate programs; an upper-level addition that will create space for a two-person office and a costume room; and ground-level rooms for classes and conferences.

“We’ve grown quite tremendously,” Mr. Leiss told The Press in January. “We’re doing 33 weekend performance a year and what we’ve found out is that’s a really high use for the space we have.”

Plans to expand the Ridgefield Theater Barn include ground-level rooms for classes and conferences, more backstage space for bands and larger sets, an upper-level office, and a new costume room. The nonprofit theater does 33 weekend performances a year, in addition to improv comedy sessions and classes for kids. — Steve Coulter photo

Plans to expand the Ridgefield Theater Barn include ground-level rooms for classes and conferences, more backstage space for bands and larger sets, an upper-level office, and a new costume room. The nonprofit theater does 33 weekend performances a year, in addition to improv comedy sessions and classes for kids. — Steve Coulter photo

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