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Hideout property owners can’t build homes amid legal dispute between town and developer

golden eagle.jpg
Ben Lasseter
/
KPCW
Most lots on Golden Eagle subdivision roads in Hideout sit empty. Many of them were purchased well over a year ago.

As over 300 lots sit empty at a new development in Hideout, people who own them say they’re waiting for permission to build and losing money as time passes.

Kyle Norman decided to move to Hideout a couple years back. In early 2021, he bought a lot and planned to make a new home in the town located above the Jordanelle Reservoir between Park City, Kamas and Heber City.

Things didn’t go as planned. He hoped to start building last summer and be living in his new home by now, but he says he hasn’t gotten clearance from the fire warden to break ground.

Norman said he has spent about $25,000 in HOA fees and upkeep costs in the past year, but the future’s unclear for him and neighboring property owners in the Golden Eagle development.

“I don't know when the city's going to approve it, or when the city's going to let me at least start,” Norman said. “The last conversation I had with someone at the county, they basically indicated that the development has been at a standstill.”

As lots sit empty, the Golden Eagle website shows at least 60 lots are still up for sale, costing between $400,000 and $800,000. They range in size from a half-acre to 1 acre. In February of 2022, subdivision owner Mustang Development, LLC sued Hideout over construction delays.

Court documents allege the town doesn’t have legal basis for withholding building permits at its residential lots, regardless of whether water and sewer infrastructure is complete.

Hideout Town Attorney Polly McLean told KPCW the town sought to find a resolution through negotiation with a third party, but the developer didn't complete that process. Town offices declined to comment further, citing pending litigation.

Property owners hope the parties resolve the issue quickly. For every month they can’t build, they lose money.

While awaiting permission to build in Hideout, Norman ended up building another house in Herriman. Depending on when he gets the green light to build in Hideout, he believes he’ll face an extra $100,000 to $200,000 in construction costs if he does build a home, thanks to increased material prices. He’s considering trying to sell.

“At this point, the fact that there's no other houses building, it's not like some new development,” Norman said. “It'd be slim pickings trying to get someone to bite off on that, so to speak. It'd be difficult to sell it.”

Wasatch County Fire Warden Clint Neerings said he’s waiting on clearance from the Hideout engineering office to approve construction permits.

“We did verify that the system would operate, but Hideout and the developer haven't coordinated all of the inspections that are needed to make sure that the system is operational enough that we'll have 24/7 fire flow without any scheduled inspections or pressure tests or any kind of delays to get the system toward acceptance,” Neerings said.

Fire flow is the amount of water pressure crews would need for firefighting.

Neerings said he isn’t involved in the lawsuit between the town and developer. He said he’ll continue to follow state and county codes when it comes to deciding whether to allow construction to move forward.

Updated: August 11, 2022 at 11:13 AM MDT
An earlier version of this report did not include information from Hideout Attorney Polly McLean regarding Mustang Development not negotiating with the town through a third party to settle a legal dispute.
Ben Lasseter reports for KPCW in Wasatch County. Before moving to Heber City, Ben worked in Manti as a general assignment newspaper reporter and editor.