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Hideout dealt another legal blow, annexation likely headed to appellate court

Hideout, UT
Hideout has indicated it plans to appeal Tuesday's decision.

A Wasatch County judge confirmed an earlier ruling that struck down Hideout’s efforts to annex land in Summit County Tuesday.

Utah 4th District Court Judge Jennifer A Brown denied Hideout’s request to reconsider her June 22nd ruling that halted the town’s effort to annex 350 acres of land in the Richardson Flat area of Summit County, saying the initial decision is “still the correct ruling.”

Judge Brown ruled in June that Hideout did not complete the legal process necessary to enact the annexation before the state law that permitted the annexation expired on October 20th, 2020. The Hideout Town Council voted to move forward with the annexation on October 16th, but the final certificate of annexation was not obtained from the Lt. Governor’s office until October 28th, after the law was officially repealed.

The law, called HB 359, briefly allowed municipalities to annex across county lines without notifying the county being annexed. The law was repealed in a special session of the legislature in September 2020 after the bill’s sponsor, Senator Kirk Cullimore, said he was misled about the bill’s contents.

Hideout attorney Robert Mansfield argued last month that the town acted legally during the annexation and said Summit County did not have the ability to protest because HB 359 was still in place at that time.

On Tuesday, Judge Brown said she did not agree with Hideout’s reasoning and declined to modify her decision.

Hideout has indicated that it intends to appeal. Town Attorney Polly McLean told KPCW:

“We are disappointed the court did not grant the motion for reconsideration. … the Utah appellate courts will have the final say. We are hopeful these issues can be presented to the appellate courts as quickly as possible.”

Also on Tuesday, Judge Brown ruled in a separate case concerning Hideout’s alleged violations of Utah’s open meetings act when the annexation was first initiated in the summer of 2020. Judge Brown ruled that Summit County’s depositions of developer Nate Brockbank and other people involved in the original process can proceed.

Summit County Attorney Margaret Olson said the rulings are consistent with the facts presented by the county.

“Summit County is very pleased with the result," she said. "Summit County continues to prevail on the law and on the facts. Hideout, Brockbank, and Wells Fargo’s ill-conceived effort to usurp Summit County’s land use authority shall not stand.”

As of Tuesday, appeal paperwork has not been filed with the courts.

Sean spent the first five years of his journalism career covering World Cup skiing for Ski Racing Media here in Utah and served as Senior Editor until January 2020. As Senior Editor, he managed the day-to-day news section of skiracing.com, as well as produced and hosted Ski Racing’s weekly podcast. During his tenure with Ski Racing Media, he was also a field reporter for NBC Sports, covering events in Europe.