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Hideout to pay Summit County $130,000 for legal fees

hideout_town_hall_-_credit_hideout.jpg
KPCW
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Hideout's current Town Hall.

Summit County is closing the door on part of its legal disputes with the neighboring town of Hideout. And that involves Hideout making a six-figure payment.

A settlement was reached last week between Summit County and Hideout in portions of the case known as Hideout #1. That was the first legal challenge Summit County filed against Hideout in 2020, after the town voted to annex Summit County land into its borders for development without the county’s permission.

According to a document obtained through a public records request, four people signed a settlement agreement on July 7: Summit County Attorney Margaret Olson, Summit County Manager Tom Fisher, Hideout Mayor Philip Rubin and Hideout attorney Robert Mansfield.

The agreement says Hideout will pay Summit County $130,000 within 30 days. Fisher said that money is a reimbursement of some costs incurred by the Summit County Attorney’s Office as it worked on that lawsuit.

But Fisher stopped short of calling it a win.

“It's unfortunate first that we have to do these things," he said. "We have spent a tremendous amount of time defending against some ill-gotten legislation that allowed an annexation that was eventually declared null. So you know, we enforced our land use authority. I think that part is the win. This is a subset of that, I suppose.”

In exchange for the payment from Hideout, Summit County will dismiss its remaining claims in that case, with two exceptions. But pursuing those exceptions would only occur if Summit County loses the other current litigation it has with Hideout, known as Hideout #2.

In that, 4th District Judge Jennifer Brown has already sided with Summit County, which argued that the process Hideout followed during its annexation attempt violated several process rules. Hideout #2 is headed to the state supreme court on appeal, which could take 18 months.

In the meantime, the parcel Hideout wanted to develop at Richardson Flat just east of the park and ride lot sits as open land. Hideout’s, and developer Nate Brockbank’s, vision for it includes a new town center, thousands of residences and some businesses, to be built there - all of which is on hold for now.

Fisher said last week’s settlement will free up the attorney’s office to concentrate on other issues, but that land use challenges aren’t going away.

“The saga is not over yet," he said. "You know, we all have to stay vigilant to that because you know these things will happen again - as we know there's a lot of money to be made in Summit County and a lot of people want to be a part of that.”

Hideout attorney Mansfield and Mayor Rubin did not return messages seeking comment.

More history of Summit County’s legal dispute with Hideout over the annexation can be found in the web version of this report.

Michelle, who joined KPCW in 2021, arrived in Utah in 2018 by way of Massachusetts, where the skiing was icy and the mosquitoes formidable. A former daily newspaper reporter and editor (at the Visalia Times-Delta in CA) and columnist (at The Cohasset Mariner in MA), Michelle has been a writer and editor for decades. She holds a journalism degree from CSU Fresno and has worked as a journalist, freelance writer and web content creator, reporting extensively on education and youth along with general assignment and breaking news.
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