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Attorney Alleges Summit County's Hideout Opposition Is Playing Favorites

courtesy of Summit County

Attorney Bruce Baird, who represents developer Nate Brockbank, says there is one important reason why Summit County is opposing Brockbank’s Hideout project—and it hasn’t been discussed much.

He said the county has its own ambitious plans for a high-density profitable mixed-use project on the Florence Gilmor property it acquired near Home Depot.  

The attorney says the county is “keeping down the competition.”

Controversy has swirled in the past few months over efforts by the town of Hideout and Brockbank to annex into Summit County to plan for a mixed-use project in the Richardson Flat area.

But Baird said, instead, there should be a focus on the county’s plans for the Gilmor parcel, which it acquired last year, along the Highway 40 frontage road.       

“I would ask you why you’re not making a report about why Summit County has suddenly become a developer of a high-density project and is gonna make themselves a boatload of money by giving themselves approvals.  That doesn’t make any sense, but nobody’s reported on it.  You haven’t reported on it.  The Park Record hasn’t reported on it.  Summit County has approved their own project to make tens of millions of dollars developing a high-density project.   Cover that, please.”

Baird said the county generally hates all development, but in this case they’re the referee, calling the game for themselves.     

“The county approved their own project and gave themselves hundreds of acres of—thousand units of density and commercial etc. near the Home Depot.  Why do they treat themselves differently than they treat private developers?  That should be illegal.  It is certainly immoral and unethical.”

The attorney said the county’s conduct is, in effect, an anti-trust violation.   And he added “That doesn’t strike me as American.”

Baird also rejected the county’s allegation that Brockbank feigned interest in getting development approvals in Summit County, while he and Hideout were pursuing their plans.

At the same time, the attorney isn’t critical of Summit County’s Development Director.        

“Pat Putt is a wonderful planner for Summit County.  The Summit County Commission, however, is not a wonderful bunch of people.   And they don’t treat developers fairly.  So, as great as the Summit County Planning Department was, you couldn’t get jack (bleep) through, and go ahead and beep that one too.  You can’t get a reasonable development through Summit County, I guess, unless you are Summit County.  And they’re crooked in doing—I shouldn’t say crooked because they implies personal venality—unless they’re doing it for themselves.”

We asked Baird, bottom line, if the county is negative toward Brockbank’s project, because they want to favor their own development.       

“It’s certainly one of the reasons they’re negative on it.  What else is there?  Sometimes 2 plus 2 equals 4, Rick.  (Rick) Any other reasons they don’t like Mr. Brockbank.   (Baird) As a person, I don’t know why.   Nate’s a great guy.”

Attorney Bruce Baird.

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covered Summit County meetings and issues for 35 years on KPCW. He now heads the Friday Film Review team.
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