Hideout developer presents pitch for annexation to voters
A dozen people attended the information session, with many appearing to support the plan
About a dozen people filed into the basement of the Hideout Town Hall Monday evening to hear a presentation from developer Nate Brockbank about what the proposed Richardson Flat development would mean for their town.
Brockbank spoke for more than an hour, aided by a public relations consultant and a digital slide show. He was trying to sell to Hideout residents his proposal for the town to annex 350 acres of Richardson Flat so he can build a residential and commercial development there, including 600 homes, businesses and municipal buildings.
He indicated the development would help solve some of the town’s most serious issues and provide desirable services and amenities.
The lights were darkened and there was a table with free Hideout T-shirts and pamphlets asking for support on the June referendum that may decide the future of the annexation. The consultant, Renae Cowley, said she brought voter registration forms, as well.
The protestations about the annexation plan that came from neighboring residents and governments this summer have receded slightly, though litigation continues through two district courts. The basement conference room, however, was devoid of acrimony, with the developer answering sincere questions from the audience about specific aspects of the project.
Attendees asked about tax revenues, environmental cleanup and where certain components would be built.
What: Richardson Flat development information sessions
When: 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 19, and June 9
Where: Hideout Town Hall, 10860 N. Hideout Trail, Hideout
Info and streaming: facebook.com/WeLoveHideout/
The event was the first of three information sessions the developer and his team are hosting. It wasn’t affiliated with the Hideout government, though multiple town councilors attended. The others are planned for May 19 and June 9, and are scheduled to also be streamed online at facebook.com/WeLoveHideout/, as this event was.
Brockbank indicated in an interview that he wasn’t sure what to expect going into the event, indicating he would not have been surprised if detractors of the controversial proposal showed up to weigh in.
“Man, this could be bad,” he recalled thinking.
But after the presentation, he said he didn’t think the questions were antagonistic and he counted plentiful support among the attendees.
Chris Judd is one such supporter. He said he has changed his mind about the proposal since it was first introduced last July.
“I thought it was a land grab by a presumed greedy developer,” he said of his initial thinking.
But he said he wanted to learn more about it, and watched every Town Council and Planning Commission meeting he could.
He came away impressed with Brockbank’s sincerity, believing that the developer is devoted to the town and indicated he would do right by it.
Judd supports the annexation plan, saying he thinks it will help the town’s revenue streams, alleviate the piles of contaminated dirt on Richardson Flat that are “eyesores” and provide commercial services closer than Park City or Kamas.
Plus, he said, there hasn’t been a cogent argument against the plan other than to preserve open space.
“Park City doesn’t have open land because they’re developing it all,” he said. “Why shouldn’t we do that?”
Brockbank’s pitch included many of the same points, as well as the proposal for miles of new trails and a school site.
One pamphlet touted an endorsement from the Utah Taxpayers Association for Brockbank’s plan not to finance the project with tax credits, as well as quoting from an unreleased Zions Bank fiscal impact study that recommends the town diversify its revenue sources.
That’s a point Brockbank made as well, saying that the town relies on building permits for revenue, a source that will dry up when building stops.
The other pamphlet, entitled “Park City Created A Problem,” indicates that Brockbank has paid $40,000 for an environmental study to examine the contamination in Richardson Flat.
“If it’s feasible, the developer will pay for the entire cleanup, turning it into baseball and soccer fields, playgrounds, trails, and other amenities,” the pamphlet states.
Brockbank estimated the cost would be in the low millions of dollars, rather than the $50 million price tag Summit County has alleged in litigation.
Officials from Park City, Summit County and Wasatch County have publicly opposed the annexation and the way it was brought about, and there are ongoing lawsuits seeking to derail the development. But on June 22, it will be the 333 registered voters in Hideout weighing in on the project.
Brockbank indicated he would be knocking on doors and seeking to sell the plan to voters in coming weeks.
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