Village says inn’s in limbo, jobs are real

KINDERHOOK–At the very end of the Village Board meeting on December 13, Trustee Rich Phillips asked to make some comment about “where we are with the Dutch Inn.” The property on Broad Street has been closed for over a decade and ownership of the building is part of legal case.

Mr. Phillips said the board was not taking sides in the legal action but he said, “I just want the Dutch Inn open.”

Current owner Al Roberts is trying to avoid having to sell the property to Paul Calgano, CEO of PCJ Development. In 2014, Mr. Calgano agreed to pay Mr. Roberts $900,000 for two properties–the Dutch Inn and another building near the inn. According to state court records, the two men had an agreement, but Mr. Roberts attempted to return Mr. Calgano’s down payment on the properties.

The case is currently before County Court Judge Richard Koweek and a court date has been set for March of 2018. So the inn will remain closed at least until that time, if not longer.

In 2012 the Village Board agreed to connect the business district, mostly on Route 9 and in and around the village square, to the Valatie sewer system. The village held a special election asking village residents to approve the project expected to cost over $900,000, and the measure passed by a vote of 340 to 143 in favor of having the Village of Kinderhook create a sewer system for those properties. All village residents pay a fee for the maintenance of the system and the buildings connected to the system also pay for the sewage they produce.

The board received a Community Development Block Grant, a federally funded program administered by the state, to do most of the work. Both Mr. Roberts and Mr. Calgano also donated money to the village for the sewer project. One of the requirements for the grant was that the project must create new 35 jobs.

Mr. Roberts told the board that he would open the building and help create the jobs once the sewer was in place.

At last week’s board meeting, board member David Flaherty said that he remembers the Dutch Inn being a selling point for village to add the sewer. He said there was an open house at the Dutch Inn before the vote. He was not on the Village Board at the time of the referendum.

“The Dutch Inn is in the grant,” said Trustee Dale Leiser, who was on the board at that time, along with Mr. Phillips.

“We were promised 35 jobs,” said Mr. Phillips.

Mayor Jim Dunham pointed out that 35 jobs have been created in the village. Since the sewer lines were added, at least three new restaurants have opened in the village. “We have created the jobs,” the mayor said, “But we haven’t done it the way we said we would.”

Mayor Dunham said he was meeting with the village attorney and would discuss a letter to the judge about the case.

“It’s worth a try,” said Mr. Leiser.

Mr. Leiser pointed out that the board was told at the time of the sewer debate that it would take five years to see economic growth in the village, and they now coming up on their fourth year since the sewer lines were completed.

Also at the meeting:

• Village Fire Chief Larry Eisen said the county was coming up with a law to fine residents if firefighters are called out on a false alarm. He said that fines would start after the fourth false alarm and that the county was looking into unregistered fire alarm systems. He said that a large number of all alarms are false and that they raise safety concerns for the volunteer firefighters. “Most firefighters die en route or coming home from a fire,” he said.

The chief also said that wording in the new law includes a list of things that can set off a false alarm, like steam from a shower, dust from construction or depleted batteries. He said property owners could “very quickly get to a point of making a check out to the county.” Chief Eisen said the county was still reviewing the law. If approved, he would get information to the village and Mr. Phillips said the Village Board would send an email to residents about law

• The village board talked about vehicle speeds on Hudson Avenue, where the new variable speed sign is placed. The sign tells drivers how fast they are going and can generate reports to the village officials. Mayor Dunham said he and other officials were hoping to see a big reduction in the speeds now that the sign is up, but they haven’t seen a major change. “That was somewhat disappointing,” he said. Though he did point out that 85% of the people driving on the street stay within the speed limit

•Village Economic Development Director Renee Shur is working on an agreement with a city in the Netherlands to be a sister city for Kinderhook. She has a letter for the mayor of Buren. She said the plan would still need the board’s approval.

The next board meeting will be January 10 at 7:30 p.m. in the Village Hall.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email

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