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County Falls Short On TRO Sought Against Mayflower, Developer, On Hideout Annexation

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Summit County was unsuccessful in a Third District Court hearing  on Tuesday in their request for a Temporary Restraining Order against Stichting Mayflower Company, and developer Nate Brockbank, trying to block their effort to annex into the town of Hideout.

The decision from Judge Richard Mrazik came after a remote hearing of about 90 minutes.

Brockbank and Hideout, located in Wasatch County, are talking about an annexation of some 350 acres into Summit County to pave the way for Brockbank’s large commercial/residential project.

The lands targeted for annexation are owned by Mayflower and Brockbank has an option to purchase them.   Summit County’s lawsuit in September targeted just one of the parcels, SS-86, of nearly 147 acres.    The county said it had an ownership interest in the parcel, of two acres, and two rights-of-way, based on a quit-claim deed from 1927.   The county argued it would have to give its consent to annex SS-86, which is a key to annexing the other parcels in Brockbank’s plan.

Judge Mrazik, however, rejected the two legal arguments advanced by Summit County.    He disagreed that the annexation would be an illegal subdivision of land.    He agreed with Mayflower’s attorney that the subdivision took place back in 1927.

The county also contended that as part-owner of the parcel, it hasn’t signed off on an Annexation Resolution with Hideout.     However, the judge said that the record title holder of the parcel, who has consented to annexation, is Stichting Mayflower—notwithstanding that the county has an interest in the two acres.

Judge Mrazik said that Summit County’s suit raises more and broader issues than were being considered at Tuesday’s hearing.       

“And so, in denying their current motion for a TRO, the court is not passing any judgment or endorsement one way or the other, on the claims in their complaint in this matter.”

Contacted by KPCW after the hearing, Brockbank’s attorney Bruce Baird said the ruling wasn’t a surprise to him.      

“You recall we talked last week about this motion.   And I predicted precisely what the judge would do based off of basic principles of real property law, that the county didn’t and doesn’t seem to understand.  And the judge did an extraordinarily careful and thorough job of analyzing all of the issues and came to a conclusion that I thought was ineluctable.”

Meanwhile, Summit County Attorney Margaret Olson wrote that she was sorely disappointed, but as always, would respect the ruling of the court.   She added, “Summit County will not stop in its efforts to stop this hostile annexation.  We have many, many other claims, causes of action and pending motions.”

The hearing came at a time when Hideout’s second attempt at annexation is facing a short window.   A modified bill passed late in the legislative session this spring allowed Hideout to undertake an adverse annexation into Summit County.

After the county protested, the bill was repealed in this summer’s special session, but the repeal doesn’t take effect until October 19th.     Judge Mrazik said it raises an issue, but for another court.       

“The court has a strong concern as to whether or not the annexation of SS-86 without Summit County’s consent is such an absurd result that no reasonable legislator could have possibly intended that, as the effect of the language that was passed and then repealed.  But that issue is not currently before the court, and even if it were, it would operate to bar the town of Hideout from completing the annexation.  And therefore, to the extent that argument or issue is relevant in this case, it should be raised in the Fourth District, which has jurisdiction over the town of Hideout.”

Judge Richard Mrazik.

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