Rendering: Richard Stott

The plan to expand the Suffolk Theater’s backstage and add mixed-use space to the rear of the building took a significant step forward yesterday when the Riverhead Town Board agreed to forego an environmental impact statement and set a public hearing on the project’s site plan.

The site plan hearing is set for April 5 at 2:05 p.m..

The expansion includes the construction of a five-story, 59-foot tall addition at the rear of the building that expands the backstage area with dressing rooms, green rooms, restrooms and a kitchenette. The mixed-use development includes 2,970 square-feet of ground-floor commercial space and 28 upper floor apartments, including 20 studio units and eight one-bedroom units.

Suffolk Theater co-owner Bob Castaldi presented the updated site plan to the Town Board in September. He said during the meeting that the expansion will allow the theater to add 20 feet of depth to the stage and open the theater to new types of performances.

The apartments and commercial spaces will “guarantee future revenue for the operation of the theater” and fulfill the theater’s long-term goal of operating as a nonprofit performing arts organization, project consultant Vic Prusinowski said during the meeting.

The Town Board also assumed lead agency status and issued a declaration of non-significance under the State Environmental Quality Review Act. The board determined there will be no significant environmental impacts resulting from the project and an environmental impact statement is not necessary. Both resolutions were passed unanimously by the board with no comment during the vote.

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Alek Lewis is a lifelong Riverhead resident and a 2021 graduate of Stony Brook University’s School of Communication and Journalism. Previously, he served as news editor of Stony Brook’s student newspaper, The Statesman, and was a member of the campus’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Email: