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Court order voids Hideout’s annexation attempt, prompting town to appeal

Hideout Town

There’s been a new development in the Hideout legal saga, with the town officially appealing a court ruling that sided with Summit County. That ruling voided the town’s attempted annexation of Richardson Flat.

Two days before New Year’s Eve, 4th District Judge Jennifer Brown issued an official ruling that voided Hideout’s attempt to annex 350 acres of Richardson Flat.

And one day before the deadline to do so last week, Hideout appealed the ruling to the Utah Supreme Court.

Hideout Attorney Polly McLean explained that the appeal would not necessarily end up at the Supreme Court, but that this was the next step the town had to take to appeal the decision.

At the center of the yearslong squabble between Summit County and Hideout, a town in Wasatch County on the banks of the Jordanelle Reservoir, is 350 acres of Richardson Flat. Hideout attempted to — and maintains it did — annex the land, which would give the town the ability to control its development.

Developer Nate Brockbank has proposed a large-scale, mostly residential project for the site that also includes some businesses and a new town center. But he hasn’t been able to start work because Summit County quickly sued to block the deal.

Brown agreed with the county, issuing a ruling Dec. 29 that the town failed to “enact,” rather than merely adopt, its annexation ordinance by the deadline it needed to hit.

That deadline was formed by the repeal of the short-lived state law that allowed Hideout’s annexation in the first place. Once that repeal was official, Hideout no longer had the ability to annex land across county lines without Summit County’s consent.

One of the fatal flaws in the process, according to Brown’s ruling, was that Hideout didn’t publish the ordinance, or post it publicly after it was adopted, in a way that complied with state code.

Brown declared the annexation invalid from its inception and of no legal force or effect. She issued a summary judgment saying the same in June; the recent ruling was a formal order of the court.

Hideout’s attorneys appealed the decision on Jan. 27. The filing says that there are other motions pending before the court, but “out of an abundance of caution,” the town appealed the ruling in the event it is deemed final.

The developers seeking to build on Richardson Flat are paying Hideout’s legal fees.