Summit County has filed an official complaint against the town of Hideout over their July 9th move to begin the process of annexing 655 acres of land that is primarily in Summit County.
The complaint and petition for declaratory and injunctive relief was filed on Friday morning in the Fourth Judicial District Court in Wasatch County and alleges the town of Hideout violated the Open Meetings Act during their July 9 town council meeting. Summit County alleges the town did not provide sufficient details about their plans to begin the annexation process on July 9 and intentionally misled the public.
Summit County is also requesting the town council’s closed executive session recordings be disclosed between June 27, 2019, and July 23, 2020.
The town of Hideout is located in Wasatch County on the Northeast shore of the Jordanelle Reservoir and the town council voted on July 9 to begin the process of annexing 655 acres of land in the Richardson Flat area of Summit County for use as a commercial development area. A controversial last-minute amendment to legislation known as Utah House Bill 359 paved the way for Hideout to make the move without consent from either Summit or Wasatch County.
Park City Councilmember Tim Henney tells KPCW that questionable lobbying that creates legislation like House Bill 359 only lessens the trust people have in their elected officials.
“We work incredibly hard to engage with our constituents and to build trust and I have to tell you, it is a very difficult thing to build confidence and trust in your local government and your local elected officials. It takes time, it takes effort, it takes energy and one thing like this completely sets you back a long way for all the good work that is done. That’s the disappointing part to me. It just is beyond me how something like this could happen.”
In a text message to KPCW on Friday, Hideout Mayor Phil Rubin responded to the complaint and said: “Hideout has followed the applicable rules and will continue to follow the rules with respect to the proposed annexation of Richardson Flats. No final decision has been made on the annexation. There are public meetings scheduled for Aug. 12 and Aug. 18 where issues associated with the proposed annexation will be vetted in accordance with existing statutes. In our view the County’s complaint is unfounded and the Town will respond accordingly.”
Rubin also told KPCW on Tuesday that Hideout was not involved in the legislative process that passed House Bill 359 during the 2020 legislative session.
Summit County’s complaint argues that the incorporation of Hideout into a town in 2008 was also done under questionable circumstances. A dispute between Mustang Development, who was the builder of the Hideout community, and Wasatch County led the development group to take advantage of another controversial piece of state legislation, called House Bill 466, to create the town. House Bill 466 was repealed soon afterward.
An August special session of the Utah State Legislature is set to convene on Aug. 20 and a repeal of House Bill 359 is being considered. However, it is possible that Hideout’s town council could vote to move forward with the annexation before the legislation could be repealed.