Hideout to consider a new annexation attempt before 60-day window closes
Hideout announced Monday evening it was readying a second attempt to annex land in Summit County, positioning itself to take advantage of a 60-day window to act before the repeal of the law allowing the unprecedented move takes effect.
The town’s first attempt was scrapped amid multiple ongoing lawsuits, a change in legal representation and a Zoom mishap that doomed a required public meeting.
Summit County officials have said they would challenge any such move and it appears likely that, if the Hideout Town Council votes to move forward with a new annexation attempt, the issue will be decided by the courts.
The effort centers around more than 600 acres near Richardson Flat that the town would like to annex into its borders and see developed into homes and businesses that would provide what the town says are much-needed services for town residents, like shops and grocery stores.
But the land is zoned for low density or open space and neighboring Park City and Summit County have long planned it as a buffer against encroaching development from Wasatch County.
Officials from those jurisdictions vigorously oppose the annexation, with Summit County suing twice to stop it, and they deny the town’s claims that there aren’t enough commercial services planned around the Jordanelle Reservoir area, where some 20,000 units of density are entitled.
The state Legislature passed a law earlier this year allowing for the first time annexations of this kind, in which a municipality in one county annexes land in another county without that county’s consent.
In late August, the Legislature repealed the law, saying that it had been misrepresented to lawmakers.
But the repeal doesn’t take effect until mid-October, leaving Hideout a 60-day window in which it may continue to pursue annexation.
The Hideout Town Council was set to meet at 5 p.m. Tuesday and published an agenda around 4:45 p.m. Monday that includes possible action on items necessary to move forward with what the town is calling a separate and completely new annexation process.
In a special meeting Friday evening, several town councilors expressed mixed feelings about proceeding with a new annexation attempt, which appears to largely mirror one that is currently under an injunction from 4th District Court Judge Jennifer Brown.
The town is barred from acting on the previous attempt and has already repealed the resolution required for it to occur, but Brown’s ruling stopped short of preventing the town from pursuing any other annexation attempts in Summit County.
Summit County Manager Tom Fisher said his team still considers that ruling a win in its attempt to halt the annexation.
“Our belief is that that enjoins Hideout from moving forward with anything related to that annexation agreement, meaning if they try to write another one that includes the same properties or the same people, that would be in violation of the judge’s order,” Fisher said Monday.
The town apparently disagrees, and on Tuesday evening is preparing to possibly vote to rescind its previous pre-annexation agreement with developer Nate Brockbank — the one included in the injunction — and enter into a new one.
At Friday’s meeting, Hideout officials indicated that the Legislature’s failure to enact a special effective date for the repeal might mean legislators were tacitly allowing the town to proceed with the annexation. The 60-day window is standard for most legislation.
Tuesday’s Hideout Town Council agenda included a resolution announcing the town’s intent to annex much of the same land as in the original annexation attempt. That resolution is the first step required by state code to begin an annexation attempt of this kind.
Next, the town would be required to hold a public hearing no fewer than 30 days after the resolution is passed, after which it would be empowered to annex the land.
The new annexation attempt appears to be largely the same as the previous one, and The Park Record was unable to confirm any meaningful differences. Neither Rubin nor a representative of the developer immediately responded to a request to differentiate the two.
Fisher said he found it “unconscionable” that the town would proceed after what he said were clear messages from the state Legislature and the 4th District Court.
“Because those messages were clearly given by the judge and the Legislature and certainly by (Summit County) … it strikes me that it’s ethically questionable,” Fisher said of the renewed attempt.
A draft pre-annexation agreement released ahead of Tuesday’s meeting mentions the same 655 acres that were subject to the previous annexation attempt, but in the meeting Friday, Brockbank mentioned the total acreage of the new annexation at 626 acres. He also said that he had removed some land Summit County contends it owns. Other acreage is subject to a lawsuit in 3rd District Court with a hearing set for Wednesday morning.
Maps provided appear similar to those used with the previous annexation.
Brockbank detailed a much smaller development than what had previously been contemplated. According to numbers released to Summit County as part of its lawsuit against Hideout, the original concept included not more than 3,500 equivalent residential units, 200,000 square feet of retail commercial space and 100,000 square feet of offices and industrial uses.
The developer had previously said that he did not plan to build the total 3,500 residential units.
On Friday, Brockbank said the new concept called for 497 units of density and 272 units of workforce housing.
The town is also considering entering into a new indemnification agreement with Brockbank related to the previous annexation, which would protect the town from financial burdens associated with the ongoing litigation.
It would cover, among other things, the town’s costs associated with the annexation attempt, including the outside counsel it hired to defend itself in court.
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