Summit County asks judge to throw out Hideout annexation before referendum
Town says it will continue fight in court
Summit County is asking a 4th District judge to throw out Hideout’s attempted annexation, and to do so before the town’s residents have a chance to vote on the proposal June 22.
In a motion filed Saturday, Summit County’s attorneys argue that Hideout failed to beat the deadline to annex the land before such an annexation once again became illegal.
The county alleges that Hideout did not correctly post the annexation ordinance before the Oct. 20 deadline and that the town did not satisfy its own requirement that certain zoning matters be decided before the land could be annexed.
Hideout Attorney Polly McLean said the town will oppose the county’s motion, and that its legal team feels confident the court will reject it.
“Our initial review of Summit County’s motion shows multiple mischaracterizations of the facts and law,” McLean wrote in an email to The Park Record. “Despite the County’s arguments to the contrary, Hideout complied with all legal requirements for the annexation.”
Hideout is seeking to annex 350 acres of Richardson Flat to build a mixed-use development that would include 600 homes, 95,000 square feet of commercial businesses and a new town hall and community center.
The land is in Summit County, where officials have vigorously opposed the move, including through several lawsuits.
A referendum is scheduled for June 22 in which Hideout’s 330 registered voters will be asked whether to move forward with the controversial plan. If it doesn’t pass, the annexation ordinance would be rescinded and the annexation would likely not happen.
If the proposal succeeds, however, it could still be stopped by one of a handful of lawsuits currently in process.
County officials say they planned the area for very low density or open space, and that adding a large-scale residential development would only exacerbate traffic and other issues.
Hideout officials say the development is necessary to provide commercial services like a grocery store or gas station for the thousands of residents who have recently moved to the area around the Jordanelle Reservoir, and those who will fill the homes that are currently being built and approved.
In its April 17 filing, the county asks 4th District Judge Jennifer Brown to hold an expedited hearing before the vote can occur, and to rule the annexation is illegal because the ordinance was not enacted before the deadline.
The new motion is in a case the county originally filed Nov. 19 seeking to overturn Hideout’s second annexation ordinance after the town rescinded its first amid technical errors.
The county’s filing came the same week that a 3rd District Court sided mostly with Park City in its attempt to enforce a conservation easement and development agreement that would prevent development on hundreds of acres of Richardson Flat west of Hideout’s current proposal.
That court case, also initially filed by Summit County, resulted in developer Nate Brockbank’s team drastically reducing the amount of land it was seeking to annex, cutting it almost in half.
Before legislation passed in 2020, Hideout, as a Wasatch County town, would have needed Summit County’s consent to annex land in Richardson Flat.
Summit County officials told the town in writing they would not consent to such an annexation.
The Legislature overturned the short-lived law last year, with the repeal taking effect Oct. 20. Summit County contends that Hideout did not publish the annexation ordinance in three places in town until Oct. 26, six days after the law allowing the annexation was scrapped.
Publication is required for an ordinance to take effect.
“Unfortunately for Hideout, it did not succeed in completing the annexation process before HB 6007 became law,” the county wrote in its filling, referencing the bill that overturned the legislation allowing Hideout’s annexation.
Hideout officials have commissioned studies to examine the impacts of the proposed annexation on four key areas, including traffic and the environment.
After those studies are received in May, the town plans to hold an informational meeting to discuss the annexation, its mayor indicated.
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