Guest opinion: Park City mayor: Just because you can, Hideout, doesn’t mean you should
Park City mayor
Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
This old adage is perfect for the mess that Hideout has created for all of us who cherish our quality of life along the Wasatch Back. Once a relatively quiet golf hamlet, the Town of Hideout is now courting predatory developers and engaging in backroom deals with the hope of building a sprawling development on Park City’s doorstep.
The developers and the Hideout Town Council argue that their desired new town center — 2 miles outside their actual town — will solve our region’s problems by providing more high-priced housing and what they call a “commercial mecca.” They claim it will deliver a treasure trove of new taxes to Hideout, as well as an equestrian center, trails, fast-food court, indoor surfing and abundant open space filled with a wild herd of unicorns. Their justification: Everyone else is creating growth and traffic, so let’s fix it with more growth and more traffic.
When you’re in a hole, stop digging! But sadly, it appears that the Hideout Town Council, with the exception of Carol Hazelton, will stop at next to nothing:
• Premeditated illusory legislation: Communications depict a concerted effort to slip an amendment past the Utah Legislature to create a special, predatory annexation law. These beyond-the-pale tactics led the Legislature to overwhelmingly repeal the law during their August special session. Sen. Winterton and Rep. Quinn both publicly implored Hideout officials to stand down and honor the legislative repeal — effective Oct. 19. Hideout previously said they “would drop the annexation if the legislation is repealed,” yet they continue to pursue loopholes with the justification that it will only be illegal if they don’t hurry up!
• Deceptive public meetings: Hideout actively sought to minimize public participation and input. Meeting agendas are posted just under the 24-hour deadline and include little detail and/or incorrect maps and information. The Town Council even met the Friday night of Labor Day weekend, and again declined to hear public input. The public hasn’t been allowed to speak for most of this process, but the developers and their lawyers freely participate as if they sit on the Hideout Council.
• Actively undermining previous development agreement: Twenty years ago, Park City residents spent a decade negotiating the development of Empire Canyon and the Montage in exchange for keeping areas like Richardson Flat low-density, open space and recreational. Now, Hideout is facilitating attempts to void Park City’s agreement. In essence, Wells Fargo and the developers are trying to double dip and use the same entitlements twice. If Hideout truly honors our covenants, this area should be removed permanently from Hideout’s Annexation Policy Plan map.
• Regional planning excuses: Hideout claims they’ve been ignored and need to annex for “regional leverage.” Simply untrue, ill-conceived and a weak justification for them to do what they want and ignore the regional impacts.
We must demand more from Hideout. It has misled and disrespected the Utah Legislature, undermined Park City’s agreements and suppressed public participation. These actions are reckless and, according to Summit County’s lawsuit that seeks to prevent the annexation, illegal. Hideout Council members have repeatedly said they want to be part of the Park City community. If this is true: Act like it! In Park City, we value public input and quality process; we respect our neighbors; we protect our open space; and we honor our agreements.
Hideout — just because you can doesn’t mean you should!
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F. Joseph Feely III writes in a guest editorial that he is concerned about the “likely impact of the extreme policy positions” Democrats will pursue if they win control of the White House and both chambers of Congress.