Hideout city council approves controversial annexation

File Screen capture from Hideout Town Council meeting on Oct. 14, 2020.

Council members voted Friday to annex several hundred acres of land for Hideout as part of a cross-county expansion effort that would open up land for commercial and residential development and give the town a new city center.

After a multi-hour meeting, council members voted on the annexation order, approving it by a 3-2 margin. Councilors Carol Haselton and Robert Nadelberg voted against it, saying the rushed move wasn’t what Hideout residents wanted and could ruin relationships with other nearby governments.

The council then voted unanimously to support the development agreement that outlines the plan for bringing commercial and residential units to the town’s newly annexed acres in addition to parking and a community center.

Disputes have embroiled the town’s attempt to expand and build a more sustainable tax base. Hideout, which is in Wasatch County, wanted to nab about 350 acres in Summit County’s Richardson Flat-area without Summit County’s consent.

Developer Nate Brockbank owns that property, although Summit County has also alleged he acquired it illegally with the help of Wells Fargo and a sale facilitated by a constable who is not authorized to operate in the county. A 3rd District judge issued a preliminary injunction against Brockbank in that case last week.

Hideout’s move to annex became legal through a short-lived provision in a bill from the Legislature’s 2020 general session. A lobbyist for Brockbank helped add the change at the last minute. Lawmakers quickly repealed the the provision during a special session, but it won’t become law until Oct. 20 — the deadline council members were eyeing to approve the annexation.

Nadelberg spoke out against the annexation ordinance before the vote — just four days before the new law went into effect. Nadelberg said that while he loved Brockbank’s proposal for the town, constituents were not in favor, according to a recording of the meeting. He said he went door-to-door on his bike asking for opinions, and residents overwhelmingly were against this move to annex.

“They want the development, but they don’t want to cram it down people’s throats,” he said.

Nadelberg had hoped the city could work with Summit County and others in the region to develop the area so everyone agreed.

Council member Chris Baier said she was bothered by reports that the law that allowed the annexation was passed clandestinely, yet she said didn’t know what to believe because stakeholders had told her different stories.

“I simply have to allow the law to guide me,” she said.

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