Mile Post: Battle lines drawn in annexation dispute
A quiet stretch of sagebrush and hillsides flanked on three sides by highways has proven to be the unexpected focus of a development dispute between small-town Hideout and neighboring Summit County that has played out in courtrooms and public meetings since the summer of 2020.
The central issue is whether Richardson Flat will be annexed and developed — something Park City and Summit County have vigorously opposed.
The land sits south of S.R. 248 on the main entryway into Park City from the east. It is on the other side of a series of hills from the Jordanelle Reservoir and the residential growth quickly covering its banks.
Hideout is seeking to annex 350 acres of Richardson Flat to allow developer Nate Brockbank to build 600 homes along with nearly 100,000 square feet of businesses and some municipal buildings, including a new community center, which Brockbank said he would pay for. There is also room for a school.
Summit County and Park City have sued to block the plan, and several lawsuits are working their way through the court.
Summit County secured a key win in the case with the most bearing on the annexation, successfully challenging the validity of the ordinance that Hideout passed to annex the land.
The decision, though, will almost surely be appealed, prolonging the dispute.
Summit County, Wasatch County and Park City officials and residents have opposed the plan and decried it as a land grab that would exacerbate the area’s traffic, congestion and environmental problems at a time when explosive growth around the Jordanelle Reservoir threatens to do that on its own.
Hideout residents, meanwhile, voted by a 2-to-1 margin in support of the plan. Some have said the idea of a grocery store or gas station closer to their homes would be convenient.
A look at the greater region shows the location appears to make sense for development: It sits at the confluence of S.R. 248 and U.S. 40, two of the area’s major roadways. It’s largely unused by recreationists and sits vacant. And it’s on the Rail Trail, near an existing park-and-ride lot, and it apparently could be linked with relative ease to the local transit system.
But whether or not Hideout’s plans for the land will come to fruition may take years for the courts to decide.
In the meantime, Park City and Summit County plan for it to include very low density development or remain open space.
Summit County for now retains land-use authority.
Brockbank’s plan to build a new town hall is part of a larger push the Hideout side is making to refer to the development as a potential new town center, but the land is not contiguous to the town’s borders or near any of its buildings.
Hideout consists of a series of subdivision homes as well as a golf course overlooking the Jordanelle Reservoir that is separated from the site by a line of hills.
Brockbank is developing many homes there. Thousands of units are entitled around the Jordanelle between many projects, including some in Hideout.
Hideout started as a residential development that was incorporated under a state law that was quickly overturned, and it remains almost completely residential, with almost no businesses.
Town officials have said part of their desire to annex the land is to diversify the town’s tax base.
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