A ruling on the Summit County vs. Town of Hideout lawsuit was handed down Thursday afternoon in Utah’s 4th District Court.
Summit County has been granted a preliminary injunction as it relates to Hideout’s July 9th effort to annex 655 acres of land in Summit County. Judge Jennifer A Brown said this was a “short but prolific case” due to the sheer number of documents filed with the court as evidence over the past month.
Summit County’s original complaint stemmed from Hideout’s July 9th Town Council meeting where they voted to adopt both a pre-annexation agreement with developers Nate Brockbank and Josh Romney and a resolution of intent to annex the Richardson Flat land East of Park City.
In the initial lawsuit, Summit County argued that the effort to pass the annexation agreement and resolution were done in secret and without the public’s knowledge, which would be a violation of Utah’s Open Meetings Act, which says government business must be done in the public eye.
Summit County also argued that since House Bill 359, which is the state law that allowed Hideout to make this annexation move without the county’s consent, was likely to be repealed, the annexation should not be allowed to move forward.
Hideout later repealed their annexation resolution on August 14th and the Utah Legislature also repealed House Bill 359 on August 20th. Hideout’s lawyers then argued that because the resolution was repealed, Summit County’s complaints were no longer relevant.
Judge Brown decided because Hideout did repeal their annexation resolution on August 14th, the majority of Summit County’s complaints were actually moot. Although she did rule there was not sufficient public discussion around the pre-annexation agreement with the developers before it was adopted.
Judge Brown’s ruling means even though Hideout did repeal their annexation resolution, the pre-annexation agreement with the developers, which was not repealed, is also no longer valid. Hideout cannot move forward with any annexations in Richardson Flat until there is a new pre-annexation agreement in place.
Judge Brown also said because the repeal of House Bill 359 does not go into effect until October 19th per state law, Hideout cannot be prevented from obtaining a new pre-annexation agreement to try and annex the land again before the new law goes into effect.
Summit county officials have told KPCW they will do everything they can to keep the land under their control and Hideout officials have said annexation is the right move for the town. If there is another attempt to annex Richardson Flat before October 19th, things are very likely to end up back in court.
Summit County filed a second lawsuit last week against the two developers hoping to build in Richardson Flat. The initial hearing for that case is scheduled for 9:30am on Wednesday, September 9th in Utah’s 3rd District Court.