Although the town of Hideout formally repealed its annexation resolution for the Richardson Flat land East of Park City earlier this month, the Jordanelle area of Summit and Wasatch counties is still projected to grow exponentially in the coming years.
It’s possible up to 20,000 housing units will come to the various communities around the Jordanelle Reservoir in the not so distant future.
The large Mayflower ski resort development on the Western shore of the reservoir is well underway and the much-anticipated Jordanelle Parkway is set to open sometime in September, further connecting the communities around Jordanelle.
Currently, residents of the communities surrounding the reservoir must travel to either Park City, Kimball Junction, Kamas, or Heber City for basic goods and services. As KPCW has reported over the last two months, officials in Hideout, Park City, and Summit and Wasatch counties all agree that a solution must be found to address the projected growth in the region, but there is a sharp disagreement on what that should look like.
The main sticking point is Richardson Flat.
The 655-acre piece of land just east of the U.S.189 and State Route 248 interchange has a complicated history. Summit County claims part-ownership of at least one of the parcels in Richardson Flat and Park City says a deal made almost 20 years ago with the United Park City Mines Company specified the area would remain development-free in order to preserve the open space around Park City. The area also contains an EPA-designated hazardous waste zone left over from Park City’s days as a mining town.
On July 9, The Hideout Town Council took advantage of the now-repealed House Bill 359 that allowed municipalities in Utah to annex unincorporated land without consent from the neighboring counties and voted to begin annexing Richardson Flat for use as a commercial development area. Summit County sued Hideout soon after and the controversial language in H.B. 359 was repealed and replaced in a special session of the Utah Legislature on Aug. 20.
Hideout is located in Wasatch County, whose manager Mike Davis tells KPCW that the planning for the Northeast shore of the Jordanelle Reservoir began almost 30 years ago and does not support a large-scale development area in Richardson Flat. He says the county did not support Hideout’s annexation because there are already plans for some commercial services in the area, they just have not been built yet.
“It didn’t look like it was going to be beneficial to the area, really,” he said. “It looked like it would likely promote additional pressures on the area in the way of densities and other things and not really solve what was claimed to be solved of providing commercial when we already have commercial planned for the area. Much of the Hideout area when the county initially planned it, before it incorporated, included commercial. As the town incorporated, they did not develop that commercial. We understand that’s their choice but that doesn’t necessarily push it on everybody else.”
The town of Hideout also has a complicated history. The original developer of Hideout, Mustang Development, took advantage of another now-repealed piece of state legislation that allowed Hideout to incorporate into a town in 2008. According to a 2018 estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau, Hideout has just under 1,000 residents and currently relies on Wasatch County and the Jordanelle Special Service District for essential services like law enforcement, firefighting, and water utilities.
Despite the controversy and lawsuits, the opposing sides of the Richardson Flat annexation have expressed a willingness to work together to solve the issues around the growing Jordanelle region.
Summit County Manager Tom Fisher told KPCW last week that the county is hoping to find common ground with Hideout in the future.
“We look forward to really working on those with them as we get past this current situation,” he said.
Hideout Mayor Phil Rubin echoed those sentiments to KPCW last week and added the town is willing to work together to address their problems.
The developer of the proposed commercial area in Richardson Flat, Nate Brockbank, also reached out to KPCW late last week with a statement.
“We will continue to work with Summit and Wasatch counties along with the city of Hideout to address the issues and collaborate on solutions,” he wrote in the statement. “Although this has been a challenging process, we appreciate the efforts of many who are truly committed to addressing the area’s significant needs. We remain committed to being part of cleaning up and putting to beneficial use this long-neglected and seriously contaminated part of Summit County. We look forward to bringing all of the parties together and continuing this important work, which will be a benefit for generations to come.”
The lawsuit Summit County brought against Hideout is still pending in Utah’s 4th District court. A ruling on the lawsuit is expected to be handed down by Judge Jennifer A Brown on Sept. 3