Here are the stakes for Hideout’s hearing on Monday
A decade from now, if there is a Trader Joe’s or some other large chain retailer near Quinn’s Junction, events happening Monday morning will likely have played a major role.
Interested parties from around Hideout and Summit County will be glued to their computer screens when 4th District Court Judge Jennifer Brown determines whether Hideout can proceed with its process to annex hundreds of acres in Summit County.
That process has been temporarily halted by a court order, but if Hideout’s legal team prevails Monday, the town may be able to annex the land before a special session of the state Legislature anticipated to begin Aug. 20.
Summit County sued Hideout to block the annexation, and was granted a temporary restraining order Friday to stop the process. The hearing will determine whether that process can resume.
What’s at stake
Monday’s hearing could remove the obstacles preventing Hideout from annexing hundreds of acres of land in Summit County around Richardson Flat that developers have said they want to use for a large-scale, mixed-use development.
At Summit County’s request, Brown ordered the town to pause the annexation process, and will hear arguments Monday about whether to allow the annexation process, which includes a public hearing in Hideout two days later, to proceed.
The Hideout Town Council scheduled a potential vote on the annexation proposal at its Aug. 18 meeting.
The annexation is allowed by a new state law that lawmakers have said they would revisit at an upcoming special session of the Legislature, expected to begin Aug. 20.
Monday’s hearing is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. and last for three hours.
It was originally scheduled Aug. 17, but Hideout officials requested it be pushed up by a week to allow an Aug. 12 town public hearing regarding the annexation to proceed should Hideout prevail at the hearing.
Brown agreed, and scheduled the hearing at 9 a.m. Monday, in a sort of virtual courtroom.
For details on how to watch the hearing, visit the court’s calendar at utcourts.gov/cal/HEBER_CITY_Calendar.pdf or by selecting “Heber” under utcourts.gov/cal/. It will be held using Cisco’s virtual meeting software, WebEx.
Summit County Chief Civil Deputy Attorney Dave Thomas explained that both sides will present evidence and testimony — including witnesses, potentially — and deliver arguments before the judge renders a ruling.
Hideout’s previously announced schedule would enable it to annex the land before the special session and potentially preempt the Legislature.
Regardless of Brown’s ruling Monday, Hideout Town Attorney Dan Dansie said the Town Council has not made a final decision about whether to annex the land. If Brown were to rescind the restraining order, Dansie said, town officials could simply resume the public process they began early last month.
A temporary restraining Brown imposed Friday granted Summit County’s request that Hideout be barred “from taking any action in furtherance of a plan to annex portions of Summit County into the Town’s boundaries.”
According to Brown’s order, Monday’s hearing will be held “to determine whether the temporary restraining order should be dissolved, or converted to a preliminary injunction.”
Dansie said the order prevents the town from continuing any substantive aspect of the process to annex the land, a process that began publicly July 9 when the town voted to indicate its intent to annex the land and authorized Mayor Phil Rubin to sign a pre-annexation agreement with developer Nate Brockbank.
As part of that agreement, the developers agreed to reimburse the town for legal costs, Dansie said. Hideout officials have hired outside counsel to represent the town at the hearing, Salt Lake City-based Mitchell, Barlow & Mansfield, PC.
Brockbank and partner Josh Romney are seeking to build a mixed-use development on 655 acres of land that is currently planned for very low density or recreation/open space, according to the county’s future land use map.
Their vision is to create a neighborhood with offices, homes and businesses, and Hideout officials have portrayed the project as a source for commercial services like a grocery store, gas station and other businesses that the booming population around the Jordanelle Reservoir will soon require. The developers and the Hideout mayor have said they will not seek big-box stores.
After the order was handed down, Dansie said the town was unsure if the scope included the public notices that are sent out announcing public hearings, which are required by law.
He reported the town was allowed to keep noticing the upcoming hearings. The town recently added a public hearing to its Planning Commission schedule on Aug. 17. Dansie said the town is not viewing Aug. 20 as a deadline to beat.
“We don’t have any control over what the Legislature is going to do or is not going to do,” he said. “All we can control is the process that we can proceed under, which is outlined in the statute. To the extent the court allows that to go forward, we’ll let that process play out.”
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