The town of Hideout is not letting a lawsuit or new legislation stop it from attempting to annex a large piece of land on Richardson Flat, a mostly undeveloped area between Park City and Summit County’s border with the town, with plans for development.
In a 3-1 vote Thursday night, the Hideout Town Council advanced a motion indicating the town’s intent to annex 350 acres without approval from Summit County, where it is located. The move has been criticized as a “landgrab” and “illegal and illegitimate process” on property Summit County wants to preserve as open space.
“The development is good for the community and this needs to happen,” Hideout Councilman Bob Nadelberg said in response to the lawsuit. “It’s a shame that the other side threw a legal temper tantrum.”
“Ideally yes we would like to work with [Summit County], but if this is our only means of pushing the development forward for the good of the community I say that’s the road they forced us to take,” he added.
Mayor Philip Rubin explained that the land would be used to build a community site, residential areas and park trails.
Nate Brockbank, the developer pushing for Hideout’s expansion, announced on Tuesday that he was scaling down his original plan to annex 626 acres to 350 in an effort to avoid another legal dispute raised by Park City. He said the town would still build parks on the areas of land that it no longer plans to annex.
Council member Chris Baier said the town has limited options for expansion. “We must expand so that we can ensure the viability of the city as it grows and that we can continue to find opportunities for that … sales tax revenue generating income into the city,” she told the council.
Baier said absorbing the land is a responsible move for the city, noting that she has read Summit County will never give Hideout its approval to annex the land.
“I don’t see how asking nicely and offering to cooperate is actually ever going to get us the ability to expand in the ways that we have contemplated in our general plan,” she said in the meeting. “I really want to have a grocery store to go to — a nice grocery store to go to — that I can ride my bike to ... and there is nothing like that now.”
Baier said the town isn’t trying to cause a stir, it is merely focused on providing services to residents and making sure it is viable moving forward.
Councilman Jerry Dwinell noted that Hideout is bound by Summit County and if the town wants to grow at all it will inevitably expand into the county’s land.
“I am very much in the belief that this annexation is a positive thing for the town of Hideout specifically and for the greater community at whole as well,” he said.
However, in a message relayed to Rubin, Park City Mayor Andy Beerman said there might be a better way for Hideout to expand without ruining relationships. Beerman suggested that the town is taking advantage of a “legislative sleight of hand."
He was referring to the fact that the Utah Legislature recently repealed a provision that allowed a town to annex land without a bordering county’s consent, but this will not become law until the end of October — leaving Hideout with a window of opportunity to continue its expansion effort.
However, in Tuesday’s meeting, Sen. Ron Winterton, R-Roosevelt, and Rep. Tim Quinn, R-Heber, clarified that it was not the Legislature’s intent to leave the window open.
During the meeting, Hideout also passed a motion that authorizes Mayor Philip Rubin to enter a pre-annexation agreement with Nate Brockbank Investments. The development project also involves Josh Romney, son of Sen. Mitt Romney.
Rubin presented a potential timeline for moving forward with the annexation plan that would lead to a special council vote on annexation by Oct. 14.