Hideout signals it may resume annexation efforts before legislative repeal takes effect
State lawmakers may have repealed the legislation that allowed Hideout to attempt to annex more than 650 acres in Summit County, but the drama surrounding the land dispute continues.
In a filing Tuesday in 4th District Court in Heber City, Hideout indicated it may resume its annexation efforts in the roughly two months before the repeal legislation barring the type of cross-county land move the town desires goes into effect. It comes days after lawmakers passed the repeal on Aug. 20 and is the latest turn in a controversy that has put the small Wasatch County town at odds with neighboring Summit County and Park City.
The filing is part of an ongoing lawsuit brought against Hideout by Summit County in an attempt to prevent the town from annexing the land. Hideout claims that a temporary restraining order a judge granted earlier this month does not necessarily prevent it from continuing to pursue an annexation. Hideout argues that the restraining order expired Aug. 18 and, further, applied narrowly to the specific annexation attempt the town began in July with the passage of a resolution it has since withdrawn. A new attempt, kicked off with the approval of a new resolution, would be allowed, Hideout claims.
Hideout is requesting a conference with Judge Jennifer Brown to see if she agrees, thus ensuring that it would not be in violation of the restraining order if it moves forward with a new annexation attempt.
Summit County, unsurprisingly, sees the situation differently. In its own court filing Tuesday, the county says the restraining order remains in effect and that Hideout must “take no action” toward any annexation until Brown decides whether to grant an injunction the county is requesting to block the town from pursuing the land move. Brown is expected to issue a ruling Sept. 3.
The county in the filing says Hideout Mayor Phil Rubin notified the Summit County Council via email Tuesday morning that the town planned to consider the annexation in a public meeting Wednesday only to inform the council hours later that the meeting would not be held after all.
“Whatever is going on, it is not being done in accordance with the law, it is not being done publicly, and it is in abject bad faith given the Legislature’s swift and decisive action on repeal and this Court’s (temporary restraining order),” the county’s filing states. “It also belies statements by Hideout’s Town Council at an August 14th public meeting that Hideout wanted to see what the Legislature really intended.”
A Hideout Town Council meeting is scheduled Thursday at 6 p.m., though no items specifically relating to annexation were on the agenda as of Wednesday afternoon.
Rubin declined to comment Wednesday when reached by The Park Record.
Hideout wants to annex the land, comprising 655 acres near Richardson Flat, and allow developers Nate Brockbank and Josh Romney to build a mixed-use project that would include 3,500 residential dwellings and approximately 300,000 square feet of commercial space. The tax revenue such a project would yield would be a boon for the cash-strapped town, and Hideout has also argued the development would provide crucial amenities like grocery stores and gas stations for residents in the area.
Summit County in court filings has accused Hideout and the developers of holding secret meetings, engaging in a misdirection campaign and deliberately misleading state lawmakers, resulting in the passage of the now-repealed legislation that allowed cross-county annexation without the consent of the neighboring county.
Hideout and the developers have denied allegations of wrongdoing.
On Wednesday, the county widened the scope of its legal actions, filing a separate lawsuit in 3rd District Court in Silver Summit that attempts to void Brockbank’s apparent acquisition of portions of land Hideout wants to annex. According to the lawsuit, Brockbank recorded a deed on the land Wednesday. Brockbank and Romney are listed as defendants in the suit, along with Wells Fargo Bank, United Park City Mines Company and a handful of limited liability companies.
Summit County is seeking a temporary restraining order that would prevent Brockbank and Romney from acting “in furtherance of any annexation” until the county’s claims can be resolved.
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