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Legal challenge to Park City annexation thrown out; case may head to appellate court

Park City hopes to annex 1,200 acres of land to the east of the city (in blue).
Park City Municipal
Park City hopes to annex 1,200 acres of land to the east of the city (in blue).

A Third District Court judge ruled in favor of Park City and Summit County on Wednesday as the city moves forward in its effort to annex 1,200 acres of land east of Park City.

Utah Third District Court Judge Richard Mrazik came to a decision Wednesday after just over an hour of arguments by Summit County, Park City, and an LLC called Hideout Community Advancement & Development, or HCAD.

After oral arguments, Judge Mrazik took 10 minutes in his chambers before delivering his ruling.

“The court further determines that plaintiff HCAD does not have standing … to file a protest to Park City’s annexation petition," he said. "Accordingly, the Summit County Boundary Commission’s February 2022 decision is affirmed. All claims and plaintiff’s complaint petition for review are dismissed with prejudice. On these bases, plaintiff's motion for summary judgment is denied, defendant Summit County Boundary Commission’s motion for summary judgment is granted.” 

Dismissing a claim with prejudice means the plaintiff cannot file the claim again.

Park City began the process of annexing 1,200 acres of land east of the city last October, and cited the early 2000s Flagstaff development agreement as its justification. But the annexation was challenged in court by HCAD, which owns land adjoining the parcels the city wants to annex, in March. According to property and court records, HCAD is associated with Larry H. Miller Real Estate and Nate Brockbank.

Brockbank is a developer with close ties to the town of Hideout’s ongoing efforts to annex into the Richardson Flat area itself.

Stewart Hiatt represented HCAD at the hearing and requested a stay of the court’s decision.

“We may be without recourse," said Hiatt. "Then again, I have to confer with my client, in light of the court’s ruling, as to whether it wants to appeal, but I need to make that motion in order to present the issue to you.” 

Mrazik said Hiatt’s request for a stay was made in good faith, but he was not ready to make that decision on Wednesday. That decision could be made sometime next week.

A stay, if granted, could delay a public hearing and vote on the annexation by the Park City Council scheduled for June 16. HCAD can also appeal Mrazik’s decision.

The Park City Planning Commission voted unanimously on May 25 to recommend the annexation to the city council.

Commission chair John Phillips said at that time that the city has done its due diligence and is ready to move forward with the annexation.

“I think it’s all consistent and it follows, basically, what was intended years ago," Phillips said. "I’m happy with where we’re at on this. I think it’s ready for some action, move it up to city council.”

HCAD has 28 days to file an appeal of Mrazik’s ruling.

Sean Higgins covers all things Park City and is the Saturday Weekend Edition host at KPCW. 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.