Chatham’s big screen will soon have little sister

CHATHAM–The Village Planning Board met for a special meeting Monday, September 23 to review and approve the plans for a new single screen movie theater at 4 Depot Square, currently a vacant lot.

The new building that will house the movie theater, faces the historic train station and sits next to the Herrington’s building supply store, will be built by Jack Shear and run by the Crandell Theatre.

The Crandell, a 534 seat single screen movie theater at 48 Main Street, is owned by a not-for-profit organization.

This drawing at right, above, shows the front of a new movie theater (rendered in dark lines) to be built at 4 Depot Square in The Village of Chatham. The new theater, donated by Jack Shear, will be run by the nearby Crandell Theatre, a non-profit organization. The drawing at left shows the building’s profile from the street. Drawings by James Dixon Architect, PC

The application to the Planning Board for the Depot Square property includes a letter from Crandell Theatre Board President Lydia Kukoff. The letter reads, “Jack Shear, long-time benefactor of the Crandell, along with the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation, has offered to provide an additional theater to supplement the regular programming of the Crandell and create a space that provides flexibility for film series and educational programs for a new generation of film goers. The smaller, second theater is part of a plan to complete the renovation of the Crandell that preserves the historic character of the building, while providing improved services for years to come.”

The new building will have about 11 rows of seats as well as a lobby. Unlike the Crandell, there won’t be a marquee but there will be display screen in front of the building set into a niche, according to the plans presented.

At their meeting on Monday the board went through the state environmental review, which was needed due to the fact that the building is near the historic train station, which now houses a branch of Community Bank. The board also discussed parking. The board made a motion to wave the parking requirements in the village’s zoning law for this project. There is public parking next to the bank, two-hour-limit parking spaces in front of the buildings on Depot Square and parking on Park Row.

The Planning Board voted unanimously to approve the site plan for the movie theater. All four board members were present.

Aaron Gaylord, who represented Mr. Shear at the meeting and is doing the construction, said they hoped to have the project completed within a year. He also said that Mr. Shear was putting in water lines to each of the buildings along Depot Square that will tie into the closest village water main.

Also at the meeting, the Planning Board voted again to approve the Shaker Museum site plan to put a museum, administrative offices and a teaching center in a building at the north end of Main Street between River and Austerlitz streets. Planning Board members had approved the application at the regular meeting September 16 but had not received comments from the county Planning Board, a final step needed before a vote on the site plan. The county Planning Board reviewed the plan before the September 23 meeting and the Village Planning Board voted to approved the site plan for the Shaker Museum with the understanding that the museum would need to come back to the board to review the final designs.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email

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