HIDEOUT, Wasatch County — Even though the legal battle over Hideout’s controversial annexation proposal to put commercial development east of Park City is far from over, Hideout town officials are plowing ahead.
The question of whether the town will be able to annex hundreds of acres despite legal protests from Park City and Summit County is still tangled in court, but Hideout leaders are already getting in the weeds of what the development will entail.
One highlight of the proposal that has raised even some Town Council members’ eyebrows: a chairlift or a gondola to take mountain bikers and hikers to the top of Richardson Peak — which developer Nate Brockbank said would be paid for with commercial and residential homeowner association fees.
The Hideout Town Council on Thursday and the Hideout Planning Commission last month reviewed a new, scaled down development proposal Brockbank submitted to the town, despite several lawsuits from Park City and Summit County seeking to stop the annexation from ever happening.
A judge last month blocked Hideout’s initial attempt to annex about 655 acres, but didn’t block Hideout from starting a new annexation process under a Utah law that paved a legal pathway for the proposal. So Hideout restarted that process with a new resolution of intent to annex — but the clock is ticking.
After KSL uncovered how the legislation that allowed Hideout’s annexation without permission from any of the surrounding counties was misrepresented on the House and Senate floors, the Utah Legislature in a special session repealed that legislation, but it takes 60 days until the repeal bill takes effect.
That effective date is Oct. 19.
So long as Hideout officials approve the annexation before then, they may be able to successfully annex the land, which Park City and Summit County are fighting to keep as open space. But that annexation plan may also be tied up in court, as Summit County officials have signaled intentions to challenge it if Hideout tries.
Hideout is headed toward a crucial public hearing on Monday, when residents will have their first opportunity to weigh in on the annexation proposal, which Brockbank and the Hideout Town Council discussed on Tuesday after the town’s planning commission worked with the developer to nail down some of the details.
The proposal includes a town center, which Brockbank pitched as one that would look more like Park City’s Main Street rather than Kimball Junction. A draft of his development proposal covers 348 acres, including 352 units of single-family lots, 182 units of townhomes, 108 units of affordable multi-family units, 194 town center condominiums, 81,600 square feet of retail and commercial, 72,800 square feet of assisted living, and about 206 acres of open space, according to documents presented to the Town Council on Tuesday.
However, the Hideout Planning Commission recommended density changes, including reducing single-family lots down to 150 units, townhomes to 50 units and 60 units of cottages, 80 condominiums, and 60 affordable multi-family units. The commission also recommended an increase to 125,000 square feet of commercial, as well as 10 acres dedicated for schools.
Additionally, planning commission members in their written recommendation also noted they had misgivings with the town’s annexation process as a whole.
“It’s important to state, as a preamble to this recommendation, that each planning commission member has varying concerns and different opinions over the town of Hideout’s actual annexation process,” the commission wrote in its recommendation to the Town Council. “This includes the approach that was taken by the town of Hideout and whether that approach met the standards of transparency and integrity that the planning commission and other entities and individuals expected in this process.”
As for the plan for a chairlift or gondola — which Brockbank said he’s “committed to” — some Town Council members questioned whether it was fair to fund with HOA fees, and suggested the idea needed more discussion to determine if it was feasible.
After Monday’s public hearing, Hideout officials will have a week to annex before the Legislature’s repeal bill takes effect and they lose the opportunity altogether, so long as Summit County and Park City officials continue to oppose the annexation.