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Milner goes affordable

David Combs plans to add 13 manufactured homes

— A local developer is again stepping up to the affordable housing plate.

Longtime Yampa Valley resident David Combs has purchased 28 lots in Milner west of Steamboat along U.S. Highway 40. Combs said 13 homes could be built on the lots and his goal is to create affordable housing for working families in Routt County.

“I thought Milner was a great place to do this,” Combs said.



Combs purchased the land from M.A. Compestine, whose family has owned the property since the 1920s.

“I think it’s good to have a little more growth,” Compestine said. “Milner has been dormant for quite a few years.”



Combs said he paid the fair market price for the land, and despite being outside of Steamboat, it was still expensive.

“I’m not sure you can call them affordable houses any more,” Combs said.

He paid just over $1 million for the land, which means the 13 home lots cost just over $75,000 each. That means the homes he plans to build will likely sell for around $325,000, he said.

Combs said he has been building homes in the area since 1979. He built custom homes until 1997 and then started building modular homes in an effort to create more opportunities for affordable housing

“I’m afraid that regular working people can’t live here,” Combs said. “To me, it’s keeping those nice, hardworking people here.”

Combs built 31 affordable units in West End Village and has built 175 modular units total in the last eight years.

Combs said he will start building two Milner homes next month. The modular homes will range in size from 1,200 to 1,500 square feet. Garages and basements could also be included depending on what the buyer wants.

“I’m going to be flexible,” Combs said. “The modular homes are some of the highest quality modular homes available. They are the most expensive, but they are the best built for snow country.”

The addition of these homes should be the extent of future growth in Milner, which was platted in the early 1900s. Individual wells supply water to the homes and unlike towns like Hayden or Stagecoach, the county has not identified Milner as suitable for much more growth.

The homes will serve as in-fill for currently vacant lots near the intersections of Main Street and Third Avenue and Pine Street and Third Avenue. Any additional growth in Milner would have to be facilitated by existing homeowners, said Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger.

“We’re really not willing to have that community grow any more than it has,” Monger said. “It’s not going to happen unless the owners want that to happen.”

To reach Matt Stensland call 871-4210 or e-mail mstensland@steamboatpilot.com.


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