Hideout Council Votes To Pursue Annexation, Despite Concerns From Wasatch Back Neighbors
The Town Council of Hideout, meeting Thursday night, voted unanimously for two measures that would pursue annexation into Summit County, near Quinn’s Junction and Richardson Flat, although representatives for Summit County, Park City and Wasatch County asked them to postpone action.
Hideout’s Mayor told them there is still time in the process for stakeholders to get information and provide input.
The Town Council voted first to authorize Mayor Phil Rubin to enter into a pre-annexation agreement with developer Nate Brockbank. They also approved a Resolution of Intent to pursue the annexation.
Asked for a response, Summit County Council member Chris Robinson had little comment, but did write, “This is clearly a very surprising, unwelcome and disturbing maneuver.”
Mayor Rubin said that the town—located at the northern edge of Wasatch County near Highway 248—approved a new General Plan in February of 2019. That August, the town determined that the goals of the Plan couldn’t be met within its existing Annexation Area. They approved a new Area including additional parcels in Summit County.
The Mayor said the Utah Legislature, in its recent special session, also paved the way for the city. He said lawmakers changed state code to allow a municipality to annex into the unincorporated area of a bordering county.
He said that Brockbank, who has purchase rights in the Summit County acreage, is interested in partnering with Hideout. The pre-annexation agreement would stipulate how they work together and would finalize a development proposal.
In the electronic public hearing, Summit County Council Member Robinson said he had objected to Hideout’s expanded Annexation Area last August. He added that the county had only seen a map of the proposed annexation that Thursday night.
“Of course, this is quite a land grab, from our perspective, and we’re a bit chagrined that city government wouldn’t at least give us some notice of this action. Was only by happenchance that we’re participating tonight.”
His comments were seconded by Council colleague Kim Carson.
Also, Dave Everitt, one of Park City’s Deputy City Managers, reminded the Hideout Council that the city had objected to their annexation plans more than a year ago.
“I believe that you all received a letter from the Mayor back on June 17th, 2019 that really spelled out a lot of the concerns that I think Park City still has regarding potential for Hideout’s annexation to reach into the area that is a previously-designated pre-annexation area for Park City. I think we’re very concerned from both a process standpoint and on a substantive level with what feels like an attempt to move very quickly, and do so in a manner that doesn’t particularly respect other jurisdictions that are in play here.”
Everitt also said there was a lack of notice and information given to the city.
“I don’t think there was a Council packet that had any of this information in it. The items listed on the agenda were super-vague, and if you didn’t really know to look, you wouldn’t’ have known to look. And it feels like, particularly given the timing with the legislation that was passed merely a few days ago, in the dead of night basically, that this is a really suspect approach, and the city is very concerned about it moving forward.”
Kendall Crittenden, who is a Wasatch County Council Member, agreed with the other speakers. He said it was a little bit of an infringement on Wasatch that the proposed annexation included a “cherry stem’ down Highway 248.
In reply, attorney Bruce Baird, representing Brockbank Investments, said they’re willing to talk later. But they wanted a decision from the Hideout Council, to start the clock on the process.
“We think it’s a good plan, but we’re perfectly willing to discuss it. I don’t think this was done in any way inappropriately. The notices have all been give in a manner that’s required by law. And we think the annexation is fully compliant with state statute. So we would ask, and by far in the best interest of not just the town of Hideout, but also Summit County, Park City and Wasatch County, it’ll be a very thoughtfully-planned, very well-done development, subject to a very thorough and extensively-negotiated Development Agreement. And we would ask you to vote on the Authorization Resolution tonight, and move forward. Obviously, everything else can be fixed and discussed in plenty of time on the remaining hearings that are scheduled and required by state law.”
Mayor Rubin said he was willing to talk to the other local governments. He set a meeting for July 14th with a couple of Summit County Council members and staff.
But he said the Town Council didn’t make a final decision, they just started the process.
“Well, there’s no intention here to short-cut the legal process for annexation and all of the appropriate notifications, public input, etc. that goes into annexation. As was mentioned earlier, this is relatively-new legislation. And so we are learning as we go, on how this new municipal-instigated annexation process works. So that’s why we’re doing this tonight—to make sure that everybody is aware that this is early days, as we work down through the process.”
Hideout Mayor Phil Rubin.