Letters, Oct. 10-13: Hideout annexation doesn’t pass the smell test
Ill-considered land grab
Reporter Alexander Cramer has admirably covered the Hideout saga. I have also followed it closely. I listened to the three-hour meeting of the Hideout Planning Commission on Oct. 1 and a couple more hours Oct. 5. I heard many concerning comments that don’t make it into the minutes.
There is the question of contamination in the area surrounding the designated mine tailings dump. An environmental engineer said someone had been on site for a different purpose, but they would have reported if they smelled toxins. Really? This doesn’t pass the smell test.
Although the developers say this new town center will be more like Park City’s Main Street than Kimball Junction, when pressed to describe the shops, they likened it to Redstone. One person on the Planning Commission was having trouble picturing the very layout they are proposing, saying maybe they should take a field trip to visualize it. Now? At this late date?
There was no mention of the “umbilical cord” strip of land along the highway which they claim, once annexed, will make the town of Hideout “contiguous” to Richardson Flat, a requirement under current law.
They are pitching a mountain lift to the high point of Richardson Flat. Their developer said people will be coming from all over to use it.
The current pared-down annexation attempt proposes 400 residential units. Planner Eric Langvardt said he foresees that people from the Salt Lake Valley will move there rather than to Herriman or South Jordan. Yet, with all these lift users and valley commuters, they are still trying to pitch it as lessening traffic because there will be a grocery store 40% the size of Smith’s.
This ill-considered land grab must be submitted by Oct. 19 to slide through the gap before the repeal of the legislation which allowed this disastrous effort takes effect. Amid all the questions, lawsuits and uncertainty, their attorney lamented it is unfortunate they are on such a tight schedule.
They certainly could have been more transparent. They should still have an EPA inspection. They should work with their surrounding neighbors and not rush the process.
Vote for the community
Summit County voters first approved a RAP tax 20 years ago, demonstrating a commitment to support local recreation, arts and parks. Since that time, a committee of local citizens has awarded over $20 million through a competitive grant process to local nonprofits that serve our community. With this funding, nonprofits provide many of the services that we residents have come to expect and appreciate — those that enrich our everyday lives.
Support for trails? Yes. Parks and recreation? Check. Free concerts? Definitely. Museums like Kimball Art Center, Park City Museum, and Swaner EcoCenter? Absolutely. All of these — and many, many more are supported by RAP. As the executive director of Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter, I know firsthand the incredible value of RAP tax grant funds. At Swaner, these funds have brought traveling exhibits such as Nature’s Ninjas, Robot Zoo and Small Wonders to our community. They’ve supported lectures on emerging research and local environmental issues, hands-on workshops and expert-guided tours. They help to make possible environmental education programs for thousands of youth. RAP funds help Swaner serve nearly 25,000 people annually through environmental education, sparking curiosity and inspiring environmental stewardship of our mountain home.
This November, we’ll have the opportunity to renew this tax to support these services. You’ll see it on your ballot as Proposition 21. RAP tax is a sales tax of only one penny on every $10 dollars spent in Summit County. Over half of RAP tax is paid by visitors but all expenditures directly benefit Summit County residents. Your vote for Proposition 21 and RAP tax is a vote to support not only Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter, but our community as a whole.
Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter executive director
Communication is key
Having lived in Park City for the past several years, I offer the following thoughts about the lack of courtesy that many bike riders show on the trails and paths around Park City. I’m not sure if they are locals, visitors or both, but something must be done before someone gets seriously injured.
I believe it’s common courtesy for riders to announce to the party ahead, especially if the party is walking on the trail, that they are approaching and about to pass them. Riders can say “passing on your left or right” or alternatively use a bell or horn to alert the party that they are approaching.
We should take a lesson from the provider of the bikes in the Summit County ride-share program, which provides a bell on their bikes, and make it a county law requiring a bell or horn on all bikes. Additionally, signage should be installed at all trailheads and paths, shared by riders and hikers, requiring bikers to announce their approach to hikers so they can safely pass.
Communication between riders and hikers on the same trail is not just a matter of courtesy — it is becoming a matter of safety.
Michael H. Sommer
Caplan is a leader
My name is Erin Grady, I am the current vice president of the Park City Board of Education. I wanted to take a minute to support my fellow board member, and president, Andrew Caplan. Andrew is known for his passion, which at times can be perceived as harsh. However, PASSION is exactly what is required to lead during these challenging times. Andrew’s No. 1 priority, since the day he took office is to ensure the children in our community and our amazing staff are treated equitably at every turn. I have heard him called many names and have personally witnessed him being attacked during our board meetings, but his resolve has never wavered. While some may not approve of how he responded from time to time, you cannot deny his passion for ensuring our district stayed on track. In addition to his passion, Andrew brings an unparalleled knowledge of budgets and finances and is well versed in our policies and procedures. The school board is responsible for overseeing: the budget, policy, the superintendent and the business administrator. While these are our official responsibilities, we often spearhead other initiatives. Beyond the board, Andrew also volunteers countless hours to our community and 99.9% of those hours are dedicated to the education of our children. Every member of our current board has, or had, a student in the district. We care about the future of each and every one of these kids and all staff members. I am proud to stand next to Andrew Caplan! I want a leader who will not back down, or waver on their beliefs and a leader that does not allow the voice of a few to derail his PASSION! I feel privileged to sit on a board that is made up of five incredible community members that have nothing but 100% passion in moving our district into the future. I have been a member of this community for over 39 years and I applaud and thank Andrew and his family for their dedication to improving this amazing place we call home.
Park City Board of Education
Cooke is a consensus-builder
On Nov. 3, I will be writing Thomas Cooke’s name on my ballot as Park City Board of Education representative for District 2, and I encourage you to consider doing the same.
I have known Thomas on a personal and professional basis for over 20 years. During this time, I have found him to be insightful, articulate, thoughtful, considerate, compassionate and a consensus builder. All attributes that would make him a valuable and productive school board member.
I first met Thomas when I was serving as chair of the Utah Office of Tourism for Gov. Huntsman. We were charged with creating a recognizable tourism brand for Utah. This was a formidable challenge due to the divisiveness that existed between the red rock country in the south and the alpine ski-oriented businesses in the north. Throughout the development of Utah’s “Life Elevated” brand, a diverse group of dedicated public servants, in conjunction with Thomas’ expert guidance and steady hand on the agency side, were able to bring all of the parties together.
I mention this primarily to illustrate the unique skill set that Thomas possesses to build consensus. This is the same skill set that he has used successfully as a Snyderville Basin planning commissioner.
Based on the current contentiousness that exists in the Park City School District we need someone with a diverse skill set, an open mind and a willingness to look at the facts.
There has always been an ebb and flow in the harmony of the Park City School District. The “ebbs” have occurred when individual agendas became more important than serving the greater good. The “flows” occurred when there was a consensus among all parties that we need to set aside our differences and work towards what is in the best interest of all.
I believe we have a unique opportunity to return to the “flow” by taking advantage of Thomas Cooke’s skill set as a consensus builder and someone who has repeatedly demonstrated his commitment to work for the greater good for all of Park City and Summit County.
Why even bother?
I’m another resident of Highland Estates, and bought my home there primarily because I like the easy-going, rural nature of the neighborhood. I have a question for Summit County: Why do you even bother with the concept of zoning at all, when existing zoning in the area (rural residential) is apt to be changed at the wish of the highest bidder — the proposed Highland Flats development merely being the most recent case in point?
Sarah L. Wood
Support the seniors
In 1976 the Union Pacific Railroad donated its mothballed Keetley Depot to Park City Senior Citizens Inc. The Park City Municipal Corporation gave the Seniors a 99-year lease to a parcel at 1361 Woodside Ave. The depot was moved and renovated and has been the home of the Park City Seniors ever since. For the past 44 years operation of the Senior Center has been a cooperative effort of Summit County, Park City Municipal Corporation and Park City Senior Citizens Inc. During this time a limited program serving about 50 members has been in place. In the past year membership has increased to over 200. Expanded services and new programs are sorely needed in order to provide a more consistent, meaningful experience for the PC Seniors. Park City Senior Citizens Inc. has recently become a 501c3 federal nonprofit corporation and is participating in this year’s Live PC Give PC. If you would like to support them, go to the Live PC Give PC website and click on the Park City Senior Center page. The first $2,000 in donations will be matched by a generous grant from The Storage Depot.
Be aware of wildlife
Thirsty people? Great. Grab a cup, turn on the faucet and fill it. It’s that easy. All safe and sound in your comfy home.
Thirsty wildlife? Not so easy. Jump a fence, go around cement barriers and navigate across a dangerous, high-traffic road. Sadly, ending up as roadkill by a driver not paying any attention.
There is a drought, animals are thirsty and unfortunately there are more cars than ever on the roads. Unlike many places in the country that have destroyed their wildlife, this area tries to preserve them, not drive over them.
Remember, they are what’s important in that moment — not you getting to work on time, or your luncheon appointment. Those can wait.
Shocked by this sudden epiphany? The increase in moose, deer and other smaller creatures slaughtered along S.R. 248 and S.R. 224 this recent week makes me wonder if commuters and newcomers are aware of this.
No, here you are not number one all the time.
Don’t waste an opportunity
I urge Summit County residents to attend the upcoming Summit County Council meeting that addresses our next residential waste management contract, to be held on Oct. 14.
Here’s why this is important: 1.) Landfilling is expensive. We pay a subsidized rate for solid waste, but the cost of building another landfill is several million tax dollars. Every ton of waste we divert (by recycling or composting) extends the life of the landfill and saves taxpayer dollars. 2.) Three Mile Landfill is currently the largest generator of methane in all of Summit County. A majority of the methane generated in the landfill comes from compostable organic waste.
Improved recycling and composting services are the solution: We must have reliable, consistent diversion reporting in our next waste management contract. Our current contract does not include enough metrics to measure success on. Composting services will solve our methane problem and dramatically extend the life of our landfill, as organic waste accounts for almost 35% of what goes to landfill.
If you are willing to pay more for improved recycling and composting services, make sure your council members know by attending the meeting or reaching out prior. This is an exceptional opportunity for us to share with our council members how important it is to us to have improved recycling and overall landfill diversion services. If you have any questions, please contact Heather at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re here to help you engage in this community conversation.
Recycle Utah executive director
Stop the land grab
Hideout is trying to steal land in Summit County that has been designated open space for decades. You know this land as Richardson Flat.
Get this: They want to put a chairlift in alongside fast-food restaurants, a grocery store, a condominium hotel, three separate villages, a police station, a fire station, more than 800 residential units, 80,000 square feet of commercial use, an assisted-living facility, a church, and a school (they want this school in the Park City School District). All in beautiful protected open space in Summit County! In the history of the state of Utah cross-county annexation has never been allowed!
How, you ask, could something like this happen? The Hideout Town Council, greedy developers Nate Brockbank and Josh Romney (son of U.S. Senator Mitt Romney), unethical politicians and powerful friends misled the state legislature, telling them that everyone in the area supported this land-grab. This “everyone” is: Summit County, Wasatch County, Park City and Utah League of Cities and Towns (which by the way are all staunchly opposed to Hideout’s land-grab into Summit County). In fact, Summit County is presently suing Hideout, Brockbank and Romney, as well as several LLCs, Wells Fargo, Stichting Mayflower, five John Does, REDUS Park City LLC, the United Park City Mines Company and a Utah state constable. A judge has already ruled once against Hideout.
So, the legislature voted to allow cross-county annexation a few months ago and then repealed it when they found out that they had been lied to. But the repeal does not go into effect until Oct. 19, which means that Hideout will try every sneaky and unethical thing they can with their shifty politicians and friends to pass this through.
Hideout is only taking public input at its meeting on Oct. 12! This might be our only chance to stop this land grab!
Please be on this Zoom meeting on Monday, Oct. 12, at 6 p.m. The meeting address is zoom.us/j/4356594739.
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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.