We’ve received a few more questions from our friends regarding the upcoming Mirror Theater, and we are also aware of emails, posts and the like that have been circulated by others. Unfortunately, much of this information is not accurate and may be causing some confusion. We’d love to provide answers! Our community is important to us.
Is the Mirror Theater being constructed by a special interest real estate developer from outside of Greensboro?
No outside developer is involved in the project! We’ve heard of some concerns that the project has been hijacked by a special interest real estate developer, and while that would certainly make for interesting headlines, the reality is more mundane and to the contrary. The kind man paying for the project is a long-time Greensboro property owner and community member. He has established a non-profit trust to own the land and build the Mirror Theater. He has been with the project since its inception with GAAR. He is doing this as a gift to both the year-round residents and seasonal residents of our beautiful town, in order to enhance the life-experience of all. Our project is philanthropy, not a for-profit business venture.
What is the size of the building—is it really 35% bigger than as approved by the Greensboro Development Review Board in 2014?
No, the size of the building has not grown by 35%! We originally submitted a design for 26,000 Gross Square Footage (GSF). This design included two floors of occupied space. It also featured non-occupied technical areas not intended for human occupancy and use. Due to structural improvements, portions of this technical area must now be counted as usable space. Consequently, the GSF of the building has been increased by about a total of 293 square feet. This brings the total GSF of the building to 26,293. This means the Mirror Theater is still considerably smaller in square footage than the Craftsbury Community Care Center. It's also shorter than the new Greensboro Firehouse.
How many levels does the Mirror Theater have, and has the number of levels changed?
No, the number of levels has not changed! Our current application as well as our initial application featured two levels intended for public occupancy/use and a third level for technical use. Most importantly, the structural height of the building is 35’, in deference to Greensboro’s height regulations. Also in compliance with Greensboro's zoning bylaws, we have proposed a non-structural aesthetic appurtenance (also known as a cupola) that would extend to a height of 42'. More about the cupola design below.
Has the parking lot gotten bigger?
No, the parking lot has gotten smaller! Our initial application featured a parking lot of 91 spaces. Due to our continued emphasis on creating a more pastoral, aesthetically pleasing site, as well as a desire to increase the distance from our parking areas to the neighboring residential lots, our parking lot now offers 87 spaces. The number of parking spaces is consistent with all applicable codes/guidelines for a theater of our size. See below for more information about our revised parking proposal.
What is the Public’s role in the planning and design process for the Mirror Theater?
Over the last two years, the Mirror Theater has gone through a very thorough public review process! Many of these frequently asked questions were first addressed in this process. At the local level, the project has been through the public Development Review Board (DRB), which included Conditional Use and Site Plan reviews under the Greensboro zoning regulations. At the State level, the project has been reviewed under all ten criteria of Vermont's Act 250, one of the most comprehensive land use planning reviews in the country. During this process, approximately one hundred individual voices and twenty-nine separate organizations have had input into the final plan and design. The Mirror Theater has been determined to be consistent with the Town and Regional Plans.
What is the seating capacity?
(From our FAQ’s) The Mirror Theater features flexible seating, due to our multiple seating configurations: three-quarter thrust, theater-in-the-round, circus-style, and proscenium. The largest of these configurations is the proscenium configuration, planned and approved to seat 277. The smallest of these configurations is 99. This creates an intended average seating of less than 199. The performance tent on the green, where GAAR has been performing for several years, seats a similar flexible number of audience members and has frequently had 160 - 200 attendees for popular events such as The Miracle Worker and The Sound of Music.
Who is building the Mirror Theater?
(From the FAQ’s) The land and building are owned by the Greensboro Performing Arts Center Trust, LTD (GPACT). GPACT is a not-for-profit trust founded by a generous local philanthropist who has sought to make a no-strings-attached gift to a theater organization, community and State he loves. The Mirror Theater will serve as the new home for the Greensboro Arts Alliance & Residency (GAAR). GAAR will be the Mirror Theater’s resident, not-for-profit, theater and performing arts organization. Many other community groups will also use the structure.
Does the Mirror Theater have any more steps in the permitting process with Act 250 and the State of Vermont? Do you have your final permits?
Yes, we have our final permits! All permits necessary to complete the building have been acquired at both the State and Local levels. The building is fully constructible. We plan to apply for minor amendments to our existing permit at the local level that will enhance both the building’s use and its aesthetic quality. First, we are seeking permission to construct a one-story storage/scenery shed, with a footprint of 51’ by 31’. Second, we wish to add a cupola-like element to the top of the roof. This cupola-like structure is similar in function to the cupolas currently adorning the new Greensboro Firehouse, and aims to further enhance the rural and aesthetic character of the building. With the addition of the cupola, the Mirror Theater will be 3’ lower than the Greensboro Firehouse. We have also proposed some minor changes to the parking and driveway configuration, which will enhance the overall aesthetics of the parcel, reduce the overall size and scope of parking and move the parking areas further away from our residential neighbors. Our revised plans for the parking area also include exterior LED lights on poles. The lights would be “night sky friendly” while protecting the safety of our guests visiting the theater.
If the project obtains approval for the revisions it seeks at the upcoming DRB hearing, will any of these revisions have an impact on the character of the area, traffic or municipal services?
No! As explained above, we have requested only minor revisions to the approved project. The DRB has already determined that the theater project will have no adverse impact on the character of the area, traffic or municipal services. We don’t anticipate that changing the configuration of the parking lot and adding an accessory shed and a cupola design element to the already approved project will have any impact on these criteria.