Park City, Summit County sued twice over city’s Richardson Flat annexation
There’s a new chapter in the Richardson Flat annexation saga: Hideout and another entity have sued Park City and Summit County to protest the city’s attempt to annex 1,200 acres southeast of Quinn’s Junction.
Annexations, lawsuits, Richardson Flat — the words go together so often they seem like they might just meld into one.
But the newest combination is something of a reversal, with Hideout suing Summit County and Park City over Park City’s attempt to annex Richardson Flat.
Annexation is the process by which cities and towns bring land inside their borders. Once land is inside city limits, the city controls how and whether it is developed.
Neither Summit County nor Park City want Richardson Flat to be developed. Hideout sees it as its new town center.
Park City is seeking to annex around 1,200 acres south and east of Quinn’s Junction, including the western half of Richardson Flat. That land includes a park-and-ride lot, contaminated soil repository and the city’s Clark Ranch holdings. It’s land that Hideout initially attempted to annex, but later backed off, saying at the time it didn’t want to be in a legal fight with both Summit County and Park City simultaneously.
Four entities formally protested Park City’s annexation, but Summit County Clerk Eve Furse only deemed one of the protests valid. Of the three that were rejected, two — from Hideout and NB 248, LLC — filed suit in 3rd District Court in late January.
Annexation protests are heard by a quasi-judicial body called a Boundary Commission. Summit County had to establish one after the protests were received.
The lawsuits ask for the protests from Hideout and NB 248 to be heard by the Boundary Commission. The suits also challenge the validity of Park City’s annexation petition and Furse’s authority in denying the protests. They both allege that Park City’s annexation is designed to prevent development and to diminish Hideout’s capacity to annex the same or similar land.
Hideout Attorney Polly McLean said state law calls for the protests to go to the Boundary Commission and that it is not the clerk’s role to reject them.
Summit County Attorney Margaret Olson said the county had not yet been served with the lawsuits.
“If and when served, these lawsuits are sanctionable. Neither Hideout nor Nate Brockbank's entity qualify under the statute as entities entitled to protest to the Boundary Commission. This is plain,” Olson wrote in a message to KPCW, referencing the developer seeking to build on Richardson Flat. "Summit County will aggressively move to dismiss these new lawsuits and seek all remedies available to the county including sanctions. The lawsuits are not in good faith."
Park City Attorney Margaret Plane said the city had yet to be served with either lawsuit.
"After a quick review, the suits look like an attempt to protest the City's long-anticipated annexation without the legal authority to protest. If the City is served, we will respond accordingly,” Plane wrote in a prepared statement.
The Boundary Commission has seven commissioners. They are Christina Pignatelli, David Kottler and the chair of the commission, Tal Adair; Summit County Council Chair Chris Robinson and Councilor Malena Stevens; Park City Councilor Max Doilney and Kamas Mayor Matt McCormick.
The commission is set to hear the annexation protest at 6 p.m. Feb. 14.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with comment from the Park City Attorney.