Record editorial: Flawed process looms over Hideout annexation vote
After a year of sound and fury, the fate of Hideout’s attempt to reach into Summit County to annex 350 acres in Richardson Flat may come down to 343 people — the number of Hideout residents who are eligible to vote in the June 22 referendum regarding the controversial land move.
That 343 voters have the power to make a decision that carries such significant implications for the entire Park City region is unusual. Much more absurd is how the situation reached this point, with Hideout ultimately pushing through the annexation with little regard for transparency and the public process and in the face of ongoing legal challenges from its neighboring governments in Summit County and Park City.
Hideout residents have a chance to put an end to the madness when they cast their ballots this month. We encourage them to vote no on the referendum and restore some semblance of sanity to a situation that has been suspect from the beginning.
Despite claims from Hideout officials and the developer who hopes to build a major mixed-use project on the land — Nate Brockbank — the process that led to the annexation was at best haphazard at worst underhanded.
A land maneuver and development of this significance deserves many months of scrutiny, with ample chances for members of the public and other stakeholders to weigh in before a final decision is made. Instead, the town unveiled its plan to take the land in July, offered scant opportunity for public input, then voted three months later to proceed with the cross-county annexation, ramming it through before the repeal of the short-lived law that enabled it took effect.
The proceedings made clear all along that Hideout officials had their mind made up from the start. They were more interested in getting the annexation across the finish line than promoting the kind of transparency and dialogue that good governance requires.
Hideout and Brockbank have attempted to justify the plan by pitching the town’s residents on the benefits of having access to commercial services without having to drive to Park City or Heber. People who live in Hideout may well find the prospect of a grocery store and restaurants popping up in a mixed-use development at Richardson Flat appealing.
That, however, is not justification enough for the subversion of the public process and the town’s flawed approach to pursuing the annexation. Regardless of how they feel about the proposed development, Hideout residents should demand better of their elected officials.
With this month’s vote, they have an opportunity to deliver a message loud and clear.
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