Summit County Councilors Say Bill that Enabled Hideout Annexation is Suspect
While Summit County officials are due in court to fight the plan by the town of Hideout to annex into the county, they are also hopeful that an upcoming special session of the Utah Legislature will repeal the legislation that enabled the town’s action.
Summit Council Members are saying the bill was passed through deception and misrepresentation.
As we’ve reported, the county filed suit July 31 against Hideout’s plans to annex 655 acres into Summit County near Quinn’s Junction.
Developers Steven Brockbank and Josh Romney propose to create a project there, called “North Park” with 200,000 square feet of commercial, 100,000 square feet of office space, and 3,500 residential units.
Summit County has obtained a Temporary Restraining Order against the town. A Preliminary Injunction was scheduled to be considered in Fourth District Court on August 17th. But County Council Member Roger Armstrong noted that was moved up to Monday, the 10th, at Hideout’s request.
“And clearly, it’s another attempt by Hideout to take advantage of a situation in which they know that the Legislature is likely to correct the misrepresentations that were brought to the legislators that sponsored that late amendment to an otherwise-acceptable bill, so that they can try and take advantage of a fraudulent situation to do something that they would otherwise not be allowed to do.”
Armstrong said in Wednesday’s Council meeting that the town’s plan was, frankly, invading Summit County and was one of the most egregious actions he’s ever seen.
County officials say a bill, HB 359, was approved at the end of this year’s legislative session but at the last minute an amendment was slipped in that allows a municipality to annex into another county without that county’s approval.
Council Chairman Doug Clyde said it was a deception committed on the Legislature with the purpose of preventing public involvement.
“And that is shameful, absolutely shameful.”
The legislature has a special session coming up on Aug. 20. Council Member Kim Carson told us what they’ve heard from lawmakers who voted for H.B. 359.
“They feel like they were misled, and it was not their understanding of what the substitutes on both House Bill 359 or Senate Bill 5004 contained,” she said. “They were told it was technical changes, and it was relating to a matter specifically in the Weber County and Davis County area.”
She said they’ve heard that the leader of the Senate is willing to bring back the legislation at the special session. They haven’t heard yet from House leadership.
Carson said she’s most upset that Hideout’s actions undercut the public process.
“This totally undermines the public process that has really been Summit County’s guiding principle during all of our planning department’s legislative process—really, anything that we do,” she said. “So that’s probably my biggest concern with this.”
She also heard from Brandy Grace, Executive Director for the Utah Association of Counties, who said her group would not have supported the bill, given their position in favor of local control.
Carson said this also isn’t good news for a statewide group, the Land Use Task Force, which includes Deputy Summit County Attorney Jami Brackin.
“And they deal with really tough issues, dealing with items like this, annexations and other development-related issues. And they work through those issues. And you don’t always get what you want, but it’s a group that has always been known for their ability to find solutions that everyone’s willing to support.’
Meanwhile, the attorney for the developers, Bruce Baird, has said that Summit County and Park City are difficult to work with, especially the county.
Carson said Baird is entitled to his opinion, but the county has a good process.
“It’s a public process, and we come up with a development code and a General Plan. We make periodic updates to those,” she said. “And then we stick with it, because that is what is law at that time. We may find that something isn’t working the way that we think, or had intended for it to work. And we’ll look at making revisions. However, we stick to the plan. And we really legally don’t have any other choice but to do that. And sometimes, some attorneys may not like that.”