Hideout Defends Its Canvass Of Referendum, Says Summit County Attack Is Bullying, A Stunt

Jul 5, 2021

Credit Hideout Utah

The court squabbles continue, as the town of Hideout fired back against a motion filed by Summit County last Friday. A press statement issued over the holiday weekend from Hideout says Summit County’s action is a publicity stunt and an attempt to create controversy where there is none.    

Last Friday, Summit County asked Fourth District Court Judge Jennifer Brown to take action against the canvass meeting held by the Hideout Town Council June 29, which certified Hideout residents’ vote a week earlier supporting the town’s annexation.  Summit County requested Judge Brown add written language to support her verbal ruling declaring the annexation invalid.

In response, Hideout’s statement from Town Attorney Polly Samuels McLean said, “Hideout is shocked by Summit County’s repeated bullying, mischaracterization of the facts and attempt to subvert Hideout’s citizen’s rights.”

Summit County’s motion Friday alleged that the Hideout Council’s canvass defied Judge Brown’s ruling striking down the town’s annexation ordinance.  That ordinance annexed 350 acres of Summit County land last year, without the county’s consent, for Hideout’s plans to build a residential/commercial center.

In its motion, Summit County contended that Judge Brown’s ruling—issued on June 22nd, the very day of the referendum—voided the annexation entirely from its inception.    The County now wants Judge Brown to add written enforcement language to her ruling.

But Hideout, in its weekend statement, said the Judge’s decision “was a legal one, and is subject to appeal.”

In the meantime, the town said, state law required it to hold the canvass meeting and officially state the voting results—confirming that the annexation was approved by a two-thirds majority of Hideout voters—and declare the annexation is in full force and effect as the law of Hideout.

Hideout’s statement said Summit County is trying to quash the voice of its citizens.

Summit County also alleged that Utah Director of Elections Justin Lee advised Hideout not to hold a canvass, given the ruling from Fourth District Court.     

In response, Hideout contended that Summit County selectively cited one e-mail from Lee.     The town said the Lt. Gov’s Office supported its approach.     The Hideout Council’s proclamation referenced Judge Brown’s ruling, and the town’s attorneys have given assurances they have no intention of violating the judge's ruling.  

Hideout’s statement over the weekend said Summit County’s motion is frivolous and meaningless and intended to incur higher legal fees and waste court resources.  The statement also said that Summit County’s declared hope to work with local cities on regional planning issues is mere “lip service.”

The next court hearing on the case, set for July 16th, will address scheduling and an oral ruling from the judge which deals with Summit County's original lawsuit filed last summer.    Hideout has asked for that lawsuit to be dismissed, and a decision is expected from Judge Brown.