An Open Letter to the Hideout Community
A social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage.
A fixing of the thoughts on something; careful consideration.
Dear Hideout Community,
It’s the time of year when one reflects on the last 12 months and tries to put events in some kind of perspective. As your Mayor, and as a Hideout resident who chooses to make my home here, I can’t help but reflect on what has been a very difficult and divisive year.
On a national scale, we have been dealing with a pandemic and a Presidential election. These are large events that create stress for all. I certainly hope that with the election over, and a vaccine in view, we can begin to look forward with a bit less stress and a bit more hope.
On a local scale, your Town leadership explored the possibility of annexation for good reasons that I believe have been overshadowed by diatribe and vitriol. There have been personal attacks on individuals and their character, disparaging statements made about individuals without any inkling of proof that the individuals are anything but upstanding citizens, and efforts made by some to subvert the public process. “Zoom bombing” is illegal and does nothing to help the citizenry learn about the annexation and make an informed decision.
There is a public process required by law for all annexations. I firmly believe your elected Council members have followed the public process to the fullest extent of both the spirit and the letter of the law. The process works and many of you have taken advantage of it to share your voices regarding the annexation. We all encourage that process to continue.
In fact, the public process continues to work. A group of residents took the initiative to press for a referendum, which will allow every registered voter in Hideout to cast their vote on whether they want to continue the annexation or have it stop. You will ultimately decide!
Although some of you may believe that the way the law was modified which allowed us to pursue the annexation was flawed, I personally and firmly believe that the annexation is a unique opportunity for Hideout, and one that we should continue to pursue. Regardless of the limited time that the annexation law was in place, it provided Hideout something that it may never have again – a real seat at the table regarding regional planning and cooperation to which the Town is committed. By being a municipality with land holdings in both Wasatch and Summit Counties, we gain a voice that cannot be ignored. We are the only municipal entity that is even attempting to influence what happens regarding future land use around the Jordanelle. I implore you to keep this in mind as you consider your decision on the annexation.
Additionally, I believe the development we are considering is targeted at making the lives of both Hideout and the surrounding Jordanelle residents easier, safer, and more practical. That was and is our primary purpose in pursuing this annexation. We are looking to address better connections to an integrated transportation network, reduce trips to Park City and Redstone for typical everyday needs such as grocery shopping, address the long-distance challenge for our public-school children, create a better and more integrated community with the addition of trails and parks, incorporate housing that is more affordable and that will hopefully lead to a broader demographic mix and, finally, create space to serve the aging elements of our community. As a secondary consideration, the annexation and the associated development will provide Hideout with a much-needed revenue source that will help mitigate the need for continual tax increases. State statistics suggest that the revenue to municipalities from commercial/retail businesses are 4 times greater than the property tax benefit.
As your Mayor, I encourage you to put Hideout first and support the annexation. But the choice is yours. The one thing we cannot allow to happen, however, is to have the annexation process divide our community and destroy relationships. I encourage all of us to ask ourselves whether we really want to be the kind of community that can’t appreciate our neighbors because of their different viewpoints. We should not allow our differences to matter more than our common desire to live in a community that we all enjoy, surrounded by neighbors who care enough to try and make the place we live better year after year. We all moved here because this area appeared to be special – caring, open, friendly, cooperative, and fun. I’d like to think we are capable of keeping it that way.
I wish you all a safe and healthy holiday season and a significantly better year in 2021.