Guest opinion: Hideout is not creating harmony in our community |

Guest opinion: Hideout is not creating harmony in our community

Jeff Sterling
Parks Edge homeowners association president

A few months ago we all learned that the small Wasatch County town of Hideout was attempting to annex land in Summit County without the county’s approval. The proposed plans would totally change our community from quiet country to urban congestion. How could this be we asked? Is this legal?

We found out that the developer’s attorney and lobbyist made some adjustments on pending legislation that would allow Hideout to proceed on the annexation without the county’s approval.

Since the Richardson Flat area is adjacent to our community, we thought it a good idea to reach out to local and state officials to find out more about what was going on. We scheduled a community town hall on Aug. 4 where residents could hear from local government. The community heard from our state representative Tim Quinn and other local officials. Hideout was invited to attend but declined our offer. But in the spirit of fairness, we read word for word what Hideout had posted on its website. Maybe our first reaction was misplaced? Maybe we were not looking at the entire picture? he meeting was attended by residents of not only our immediate community but also people from Black Rock Ridge, Deer Mountain and Hideout itself. I thought it interesting that one of the Hideout residents actually apologized for what their town council was doing. At the conclusion of the meeting, we asked those in attendance how they felt about the Hideout annexation. The vote was unanimously against the annexation. Even the Hideout residents voted no!

Fast forward to Aug. 21 and we find out that the law has been repealed. A breath of relief. But wait, the saga continues. The repealed law has a 60-day waiting period, and even though the local community and state legislators have all spoken, Hideout continues to press forward to take advantage of the 60-day window. They say this is all about planning for future growth and that both Wasatch and Summit counties are not making the appropriate plans. But at a recent Hideout Town Council meeting, one of the council members mentioned that in order for the town of Hideout to be viable, it needs commercial revenue. So which is it? Planning or money? Based on that comment, one can only conclude that this is a money grab for Hideout. Does Hideout’s need for money justify their actions?

The long-running columnist for the New York Times William Safire once said, “The right to do something does not mean that doing it is right.”

Just because Hideout has a legal window to annex land, is it right?

Along the way Hideout has not made many friends in the community. I think it would be safe to say they have made a lot of enemies. However, I have some suggestions to heal wounds and build a brighter future for the Jordanelle area.

1. Hideout should stop all annexation plans in Summit County.

2. Local government, including Hideout, should set up a regional planning council to come up with a mutually agreed upon plan for future growth.

3. Hideout should look within its boundaries to make zoning changes that will accommodate commercial development. Hideout has the unique opportunity to take advantage of its world-class views of the reservoir and ski slopes. Why not develop the lakefront with some lakeside dining and entertainment?

I think we can all agree that the area is growing and we need a variety of services for our new neighbors. We would also agree that the way Hideout is going about its business is not creating harmony within our community. There must be a better way. Hideout, the choice is yours.

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