Letters, Sept. 26-29: Hideout annexation may be a toxic situation
A toxic situation
This is an open letter to the Hideout Town Council and mayor. Although I personally oppose the annexation, there is a consideration that you are not taking into account that could be devastating to your town financially. I was a vice president with United Park City Mines Company for 10 years and am intimately familiar with the property that is being considered for annexation. As you are probably aware, the property known as Richardson Flat was used as a mine slurry repository since the early 1950s. The property contains lead, arsenic and zinc in concentrations high enough to have caused the EPA to pursue a Superfund listing back in the 1970s. The property is highly contaminated and it is possible the property surrounding the actual tailings site has been subject to contamination as well. The Richardson Flat property remains under the jurisdictional authority of the EPA and the Utah Department of Environmental Quality. My assumption is that you are receiving your information regarding the potential environmental contamination of this property from the developers. Given the adjacent proximity of the proposed Superfund site, if the Town Council and mayor are not seeking third-party confirmation of the environmental contamination of the adjacent property, then they are being grossly negligent in their duties to the citizens of Hideout. It is absolutely essential that the EPA and the DEQ be consulted and opinions sought prior to this action being pursued. You could very well be saddling your town, forever, with an enormous clean-up liability that could easily run into tens of millions of dollars. If the desire is to pursue tax revenue, then the exact opposite effect could be realized. I doubt you would like Hideout to be known as the Superfund City. I suggest you had better be definitively certain that the developers would stand beside you and absorb any clean-up costs that may be incurred. Whether you choose to move forward or not, please consider contacting the government agencies and getting the real information that is required in order to move forward with a decision.
Continue crucial investment
We are privileged to live in a county that has one of the healthiest standards of living and lowest obesity rates in the country. We possess that distinction for many reasons, but not the least is our ability to work and exercise in the outdoors and effortlessly enjoy our immense open spaces. These types of amenities bring lasting health, not only to us but to our growing communities.
Another gift Summit County possesses is a substantial tourism tax base, which provides amenities that many other small counties envy. The ability to capture even a tiny portion of that visitor tax base through a RAP tax assessed upon those who transiently recreate here, and then spread such lasting benefit to our permanent residents, is impressive.
Trails of every kind are in constant and increasing demand. And the request for these types of projects is spreading into eastern Summit County. Our foundation has helped construct many miles of trails along the Weber River corridor and other areas in Kamas Valley, and RAP tax grants have been vital in realizing such projects.
Trails are a simple and low-impact amenity that allows us to venture into the safety of the outdoors, to discover the wild and natural beauty beyond the confines of our infectious and stressing society. They further allow us to find the wilder side of our minds and spirits — often lost in noises of division surrounding us today.
While we spend vast amounts of money to acquire or protect open spaces — it is easy to forget that an economical trail can become the sanctuary and classroom of such wonders. They are a corridor of learning and peace, which rewards us with physical, mental and emotional health. Such peace provides a cost-benefit ratio that is incalculable and lies far beyond any pixelated screen of our sedentary social media.
Please continue this investment by spreading a moment of our visitor’s pleasure into a priceless long-lasting asset of health. Vote yes on Proposition 21 to reauthorize our valuable RAP Tax and be sure to return your ballot before Election Day, Nov. 3!
South Summit Trails Foundation board
Vote yes on Prop 21
For the last 20 years Summit County residents have been the beneficiaries of millions of dollars in a local, non-food, sales and use tax of 1/10th of 1 cent to fund recreation, arts and parks (RAP). Oakley City has been granted funding to help with our rodeo, cultural centers, art fairs, trails and recreational facilities. The vast majority of this tax is paid by visitors to the Park City area, but the funds created help improve the quality of life for all county residents. This is especially important to smaller municipalities that are impacted by the growth in Park City, but don’t necessarily benefit from the commerce created. Please vote YES on Proposition 21 and remember to mail your ballot in early!
Oakley City Council
Hideout plans to invade Park City and Summit County! We have long sought to protect the eastern entry into Park City and to never allow it to become another Kimball Junction. The land to the southeast of Quinn’s Junction, Richardson Flat, has been protected open space for decades. In the 1990s the Flagstaff negotiations were years long and resulted in United Park City Mines agreeing to never develop Richardson Flat. This is an important part of our community’s vision and planning.
Hideout, a town in Wasatch County that has only 185 registered voters, wants to invade Summit County and annex the land in Richardson Flat and develop it against massive protest. The state Legislature, Utah League of Cities and Towns, Summit County, Wasatch County and Park City officials are all opposed to Hideout’s invasion. A judge even issued an injunction against them. Hideout continues this aggressive and unpopular move to invade us.
Nate Brockbank and Josh Romney, Mitt’s son, greedy developers, politicians and powerful friends have convinced the Hideout Town Council that they must do this. One council member quit in protest, one voted no, and the other three voted yes. This handful of people convinced the Legislature that everyone in the area supported this land grab. Under influence from Hideout and its associates, the Legislature voted to allow cross-county annexation a few months ago. When the Legislature found out that they had been deceived, they repealed the law at a special session. It goes into effect Oct. 19. Hideout is trying to approve this quickly.
Please attend the Hideout public Zoom meeting on Monday, Oct. 12 at 6 p.m. Meeting URL: zoom.us/j/4356594739.
We have got to stop this invasion!
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In a guest editorial, Summit County Manager Tom Fisher and Health Director Richard Bullough say the county is quickly using every coronavirus vaccine it receives. But for now, the number of people eligible for inoculation is greater than the number of doses the county is receiving.