Judge's Ruling Gives Some Points To Summit County, But More Hideout Litigation Is Ahead
Summit County received some good news in a ruling Sept. 16th from Fourth District Court Judge Jennifer Brown, concerning one of the county’s legal challenges to the town of Hideout and its attempt to annex into Summit County.
Judge Brown denied a motion from Hideout, and allowed Summit County to retain most of the claims it made in a lawsuit filed a year ago.
That lawsuit seeks to nullify Hideout’s first attempt to annex properties near Richardson Flat. Meanwhile, litigation continues over Hideout’s second attempt to annex. And a crucial decision from Judge Brown is set for mid-October.
The lawsuit Judge Brown ruled on this week was filed after Hideout passed a Resolution of Intent to Annex and a Pre-Annexation Agreement in July of 2020.
Summit County objected to the July 9th meeting, as well as meetings in September which were, the county alleged, attempts by the town to perfect the annexation process despite the judge’s ruling.
The county said that Hideout violated the state’s Open Public Meetings law. It argued that the town can’t provide municipal services to the annexed properties, so the responsibility would fall to Summit County. The county said Hideout’s actions were illegal contract zoning. And it said that the public process held by Hideout Town was just a pre-text for an annexation it had already decided.
In response to those objections, Judge Brown imposed a preliminary injunction against the town, preventing it from enacting the annexation or developing on that land.
Contacted by KPCW, Summit County Attorney Margaret Olson said only two claims in the lawsuit were dropped by Judge Brown this week. She said the county voluntarily gave those up earlier this year. Olson said one reason to keep pursuing the county’s claims around the July 9th events is that it has a “whopper of an attorney fees claim” as she put it, and the county should be compensated.
The Hideout Town Council approved the annexation of 350 acres of Summit County land without the county’s consent, with a reconfigured plan, on October 16 of 2020.
Earlier this summer, Judge Brown struck down that decision, on the grounds that Hideout had not followed the proper legal steps to enact and certify the annexation before an important deadline.
Hideout asked the judge to reconsider. That motion was argued before Judge Brown on Thursday. She said she will render a decision on October 14th.