With less than seven weeks to go before Hideout’s referendum on its annexation into Summit County, the Hideout Town Council hosted an informational meeting on the proposed expansion.
The Wednesday night meeting included statements for and against the Silver Meadows project, a commercial/ residential center proposed near Richardson Flat. Mayor Phil Rubin reviewed some preliminary studies on the plan. And he said more public meetings are scheduled in the coming weeks.
The referendum will have Hideout residents casting mail-in ballots up until 8 p.m. on June 22nd. Mayor Rubin said with time allowed to receive the ballots in the mail, they expect to announce the results no later than June 29th.
Citizens were invited to e-mail comments or questions before Wednesday’s meeting, but Mayor Rubin said they didn’t receive any.
Last October, the Town Council voted to annex some 350 acres into Summit County for the plan from developer Nate Brockbank. The Mayor said they need to mitigate the impacts of thousands of units expected in the Jordanelle area.
“That there are a lotta units coming in around the Jordanelle area—in Wasatch, some in Hideout, some in Summit, all within a couple mile radius of this area. We, the Council, initially identified that we need to do something jointly across the various municipal boundaries together to find a solution to those needs. And when you get 15,000 units, that’s a lot of people. That’s a lotta houses. It’s a lot of demand. We’ve gotta find some kind of solution, or we’re gonna be basically looking at Sundance traffic every day.”
Mayor Rubin said they commissioned four studies of the annexation. He said the environmental study found that the base metal content in the area’s soil and water, such as arsenic, is typical compared to other areas in Utah and around the country.
“And you can see there’s fairly high concentrations of arsenic across the whole Mountain West, pretty much, and somewhat in the Northeast as well. The other study that’s in here, this is arsenic in the water, not on the soil. But it shows that there’s even various parts of Utah, there’s quite a bit of arsenic in the water, including the Salt Lake Valley has a fairly high percent in certain place, of micrograms per liter. We want everybody to know that we pay attention to the numbers. But we also have to recognize that arsenic is not an unusual find anywhere.”
He said that among several sample sites, just a couple of spots showed elevated arsenic levels. And one surface water sample was slightly elevated for arsenic and antimony. The Mayor said they will ask the environmental consultant to study those anomalies further.
On traffic, he said, a study by Fehr and Peers found that the traffic increase from the new development will be within reason. That is presuming that new signal lights will be set up at the intersections of Richardson Flat Road and Kearns; the Richardson Road at 248 near Brown’s Canyon; and the same Road at Jordanelle Parkway. A fourth road, entering off 248, would further reduce traffic.
Fiscally, two studies found the development will generate $15 million in revenues over 20 years. After expenses, Rubin said, the town is projected to receive between $3-7 million. The Mayor said the tax rate would not increase due to the development.
Finally, a recreational ski lift is being studied by the SE Group. But at this point the study has just defined the questions about the lift—on cost, what services it might provide and the amount of visitation.
Mayor Rubin said the consultants will appear with more complete reports at a town meeting they’re setting for early June.
The meeting also heard from a referendum organizer—former Town Council Member Kurt Shadle.
He said that town officials are trying to act in the best interest of the area. But Shadle said the annexation is an unnecessary distraction, and could sap the town’s attention for several years, away from issues it needs to address.
He said the annexation has drawn a host of opponents—including Summit County, Park City, Wasatch County and the Jordanelle Service District.
Shadle said that Hideout’s government, while talented, is too small to deal with the development’s issues of planning, engineering, construction and water supply.
He said local county and city governments need to grapple with the growth of the last decade, exacerbated by the effects of the pandemic.
“Traffic, critical services, water supply and infrastructure—they don’t care about arbitrary county town-line boundaries. What happens in Park City affects—happens to us. Kearns Boulevard, when it is completely jammed with traffic, doesn’t allow Hideout residents or neighboring communities the ability to get into town to do shopping or to do other things that are supplied by Park City. Park City seems to be happy to take our tax dollars. Doesn’t seem to be too interested in focusing on how to make our area more livable.”
He also noted that Park City has just proposed a new soils repository, without heeding the effects on neighbors like Hideout.
He said a large-scale focus is needed.
“There needs to be formalized regional Planning Commission, which has the authority to contain and regulate this development, and the negative impacts of individual community decisions on neighboring communities across county. All stakeholders must be included in order to make such a body effective and fair. So I would urge that this be sort of a wake-up call to all governments impacted in this area.”
Referendum organizer Kurt Shadle.