Amy Roberts: Zoom and doom
One of the most difficult things about writing a weekly column is settling on a new topic, or at least finding a new twist on an old topic, every seven days. Considering I have to find it interesting enough to muse about it for roughly 600 words, it isn’t an easy task.
Though 2020 in general, and this administration in particular, provides plenty of fodder, at some point the number of options can seem too overwhelming to make a selection. It’s a bit like ordering off the menu at The Cheesecake Factory. Should I go with another COVID debacle? How does the Russian interference in our elections sound? Perhaps the president’s classless attacks on Sen. Kamala Harris would hit the spot. Or maybe a I should go wild and opt for Trump’s self-serving efforts to deny the U.S. Postal Service the resources it needs to operate efficiently in an attempt to suppress access to voting. The choices are endless.
But frankly, none of these options are all that appetizing. The locals’ special is slightly more appealing, mostly because of its comically anti-climactic resolution. I suspect Nate Brockbank and Josh Romney, the two developers Summit County accused of masterminding a cunning backroom deal involving the state Legislature so Hideout could annex hundreds of acres of land without the county’s approval or even advance knowledge, are still trying to digest what happened. Maybe they should have prayed to the IT gods, or taste-tested their approach, or spent last week fasting. But they didn’t. So for now, Hideout’s hopes of annexing the area around Richardson Flat has been taken off the menu.
For most locals, the move seemed bold, arrogant and downright distasteful. The outrage doesn’t appear to be over the actual land, as few people are emotionally invested in Richardson Flat, and even fewer know much about it aside from its reputation as being the place where a bunch of the toxic soil has been rehomed over the years. But the idea that Hideout, a small village in neighboring Wasatch County, could claim 650 acres across its border caused quite a stir, and rightfully so. Manipulating lawmakers, secret meetings and efforts to avoid public scrutiny were allegedly part of the recipe. Not being invited to the dinner party left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.
While Summit County was willing to go to court over the ordeal, for now it’s been put on the backburner. Not because the developers had a moral epiphany or the mayor of Hideout came to his senses. Rather, the process was doomed by Zoom.
A virtual public hearing was meant to take place last week, but technical glitches prevented the meeting from happening as planned, which made it impossible to collect required public input prior to a scheduled vote on the issue that was due to take place this week.
Regardless of whether one is anti-development, anti-annexation, or pro-grocery store near the Jordanelle, this entire debacle seems rather unbelievable. Who plans to host a critical virtual meeting, one likely to be attended by high-stakes audience members and media, without someone from the IT department on standby? That makes about as much sense as taking a pathologically indecisive person to dinner at The Cheesecake Factory.
While Hideout’s hopes of annexing the land isn’t entirely off the table, the town will have to pass an intent-to-annex resolution in the future in order to do so, and it’s possible the state Legislature will repeal the law that allowed the annexation attempt without the county’s consent in the first place.
Either way, karma is a dish best served cold.
Amy Roberts is a freelance writer, longtime Park City resident and the proud owner of two rescued Dalmatians, Stanley and Willis. Follow her on Twitter @amycroberts.
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Columnist Tom Clyde writes that the “area around Jordanelle Reservoir is a jurisdictional chowder gone bad.”