Valatie mayor solves vexing problem, then bows out


VALATIE—At her last meeting as mayor, Diane Argyle announced that the US Hotel and the former Trolley Station on Main Street have both been sold and are now back on the village tax rolls. At the March 9 meeting, the mayor, who did not run for reelection last month, also received recognition from the board for her years of service.

The board presented former Mayor Argyle with a clock which said inside, in part, the gift was “in recognition of your outstanding commitment and dedication to the residents of the Village of Valatie.” Ms. Argyle was first elected in 2013, unseating a 10-year incumbent mayor. Frank Bevens, who originally ran with Ms. Argyle in 2013 for trustee, ran unopposed for mayor in the March 16 village elections.

As for the US Hotel, the village Local Development Corporation (LDC) bought the apartment building on Main Street in 2012. The sale also came with the Trolley Station at the intersection of Main Street and Route 9/Kinderhook Street. The plan at the time was for the property to remain an apartment building with the village LDC as landlord. The Trolley Station has been office space.

“It’s been in disrepair for a long time,” said LDC president and former Valatie mayor Jason Nastke in a 2012 story in The Columbia Paper about the US Hotel.

According to the state, LDCs are “private, not-for-profit corporations often created by, or for the benefit of, local governments for economic development or other public purposes.”

In 2016 the state Authorities Budget Office (ABO) released a report saying that the Valatie LDC had failed to file required financial reports as of January 20, 2016. Mr. Nastke apologized in an email at the time, saying, “We are currently in the middle of auditing our financials, which will be posted immediately upon release.” The LDC was trying to sell the US Hotel and Mr. Nastke wrote, “Once we have disposed of the US Hotel, we look forward to dissolving the LDC.”

In the fall of 2020, Village Attorney Rob Fitzsimmons said the LDC was in court trying to transfer the titles to the buildings on Main Street to the Village Board to finalize the sale. There was also an issue with an abandoned building on River Street that at one point housed the Energy-Onyx company. The LDC had managed federal loans on the building.

At the March 9, 2021 meeting, Ms. Argyle said the sale of the Main Street buildings had finally gone through and there was interest in the River Street building, which the village put up for sale last summer.

She also announced that now the village can move forward with dissolution of the LDC.

The board is still negotiating the contract on the River Street building to a buyer who wants to put apartments for people 55 years and older on the site.

As for Ms. Argyle’s final words to the board as mayor, she advised the board to look into zoning regulations for short-term rentals like the ones offered on the Airbnb website. She said there are several planned for properties in the village. She also pointed out construction at the hydro station on Route 203 by the company that bought the property will be complete soon. She said the developers plan to have a grand opening at some point.

She said of her time as mayor, that it’s been “a long journey” and she thanked everyone for their support.

The next Village Board meeting will be Tuesday, April 13 at 7 p.m. The village board currently meets in the Senior Center on Williams Street with masks and social distancing.