Ministorage plan approved

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— A move is certain for the men and women whose homes stand in the way of pending construction along U.S. Highway 40.

The Routt County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday approved a plan to clear mobile homes, an old motel and an aging house to make way for a ministorage facility.

D-Bar-K Enterprises asked the county for permission to build the storage units in place of the structures because the water and sewage system that services the buildings is failing.

The county's approval means residents on the 5-acre parcel must leave.

County officials have recognized that removing the housing would take away some affordable housing options. But the county commissioners agreed Tuesday's hearing was not about the lack or adequacy of affordable housing in the Yampa Valley.

"I don't feel it's part of our decision," County Commissioner Doug Monger said.

But the county commissioners urged D-Bar-K to work with the residents to find alternative housing arrangements.

Steve Dawes, a partner in D-Bar-K Enterprises, assured the board the mobile home owners would receive ample compensation for their loss.

A dollar amount was not mentioned, but Dawes said it would be fair.

He argued that clearing away the structures would not undermine the availability of affordable housing around Steamboat Springs.

The hotel currently houses transients, he said.

People in search of affordable housing are looking for something more akin to single-family residences than what currently exists on D-Bar-K's property, he said.

"We don't feel it's the sole responsibility of private citizens to solve this problem by ourselves," Dawes said.

The mobile home owners said they were concerned about losing any equity they had built up in their property should they have to move the trailers elsewhere.

"I am taking a huge financial shot," Timmy Meagher told the county commissioners.

Meagher recently purchased a house and hoped to offset some of the cost by selling his trailer.

He said he was willing to walk away from the deal with some compensation but was frustrated that affordable housing options were disappearing for working-class people in the Yampa Valley.

His neighbor, Doyle Capra, acknowledged the complexity of the situation.

"There's no right answer here, and there's no wrong answer here," Capra said. "It's a no-win situation."

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