A “Quick Pause” on Development in Hildale

Moratorium described as a “quick pause” and “necessary roadwork” in the interest of stable development

HILDALE – Hildale City Council has adopted a moratorium (2018-003), or temporary ordinance, on development in the city lasting 90 days. The three-month stay was adopted in lieu of “free-for-alls” of potentially unsafe or out-of-code development, including renovation of traditionally large homes in Hildale to high density apartment buildings or Air BnB destinations.

Subdivision and many major remodel applications are also barred, but emergency rebuilds of individual properties in case of disaster or for rectifying safety concerns will be permitted by the council on a case-by-case basis. Applications for remodels that do not change the footprint or use of the structure are still being accepted.

The stated purpose of the 27 August moratorium is to allow for the Planning Commission, including engineer and land developer Charles Hammon, time to solidify nonexistent planning and zoning ordinances for the sister cities of Hildale and Colorado City, Arizona.

The moratorium is being adopted to stop “allowed nonconforming” properties from being approved, essentially disallowing the further “grandfathering in” of problematic properties while zoning and development regulations are established.

The Planning Commission is currently holding public meetings, and are “30 days away from a very, very, very rough first draft” of zoning ordinances, according to Hammon. They encourage the public to show to meetings and give their input to the volunteer commission.

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Hildale City Manager John Barlow assured the public Wednesday night, Hildale is “pro-development,” but the lack of planning and zoning ordinances opens the door to problematic or dangerous development.

“We have to take the first step,” said Hildale Mayor Donia Jessop. “We’re not here to be everybody’s best friend. We are here to do what’s best for Hildale. This is going to be one of our first very hard decisions to make.”

Willie Jessop, landowner, said to the council, “I think it’s very disheartening.” Jessop did not share the nature of his proposed project, but implied a pending development will be temporarily blocked by the moratorium.

Jeff Barlow, Director of the UEP Trust, went on record to say he supports Hildale in the decision. Barlow is not thrilled with the moratorium, as it affects plans the UEP Trust has for development, but pledged to be a part of the planning and zoning conversation going forward.

Roger Carter, Court Monitor for Hildale and Colorado City, said, “This is the proper use of laws such as this. This moratorium is not directly discriminatory in any way.” A long conversation was had by the council to ensure the public the temporary legislation is not directed at any one type of development or person, and has all citizen’s best interests in mind.

For details on how your project may have been specifically affected, please contact Hildale City Hall at 435-874-2323.

EDITOR: This story has been updated with a link to the moratorium on 31 August 2018 at 6:15 p.m. local time.

Colorado City 2018 Primary Election Primer

2018 Primary Election Primer

COLORADO CITY – On Tuesday, 28 August 2018, Colorado City, Arizona will enjoy an open primary election for town council. Traditionally dominated by members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), Colorado City administration could govern and believe very differently, come November.

Candidates include: Brooke M. Barlow; Freeman Barlow; Parley Barlow; Sham Barlow; Kendall Pipkin; Jason Black (also on the Utility Board); Alma Hammon; Jeffery Jessop (incumbent); Donald Richter (incumbent); Joanne Shapley (incumbent); and Marion Timpson.


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(Non-FLDS) candidates gather to address the public.       Photo by Eric Velander

If any candidate secures over 50 percent of the vote in the primary, they automatically win or maintain a seat on the council. The council will vote on a mayor from among council members once elected in November.

Polling will be at Mohave Community College until 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, 28 August, and voters must provide a non-PO box proof of address to vote. Voters should be aware, If their driver’s license has a PO box address, they should bring along a piece of mail to prove residency.

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The three incumbents, Jeffery Jessop, Donald Richter, and Joanne Shapley, all FLDS representitives, have not visibly campaigned, nor have they shown to community-organized town hall events to share their vision for the future. However, openly-campaigning candidates have publicly expressed a wide variety of approaches to governance.

Lowering or maintaining tax rates is a popular flag to wave for many voters in Short Creek, while solidifying progressive planning and zoning maps is a constant talking point among developers, landowners, and business owners. Both groups are well-heard among candidates.

Controversially, annexation of nearby Centennial Park and Cane Beds has been spouted by all visible candidates as an inevitability. Light pollution control (or alternately, the darkness of side streets) and ludicrous rate hike proposals by the “nonprofit” Twin City Water Works are also on the tip of voters’ minds and tongues.

Next week, the public has one more chance to question candidates before the field narrows. A final town hall before the primary election is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. on Monday, 27 August at Cottonwood Park.


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Public comments range from emotional to skeptical to optimistic.     Photo by Eric Velander

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Effectiveness of candidates’ messages vary. Light on details in public appearances, citizens have relayed fears about a lack of knowledge and tangible plans by some candidates. Real concerns remain around some “evolving campaigns” seeking to “represent you, the people.”

Economic stressors stemming from an expensive legal appeal over a 2017 injunction (which Hildale has decided not to appeal, while Colorado City continues to fight) and communication issues between the prolific UEP Trust and city administration remain largely unknown to the public. While development of local employment opportunities is a popular narrative in town halls, no clear economic picture has been illustrated.

Until an informational 23 August meeting, sponsored by Hildale administration and attended by six candidates (Shem, Brooke, Parley, and Freeman Barlow, Kendall Pipkin, and Marion Timpson), specifics about alarming utility and infrastructure issues also went unexplored, at least publicly.

While the details may be fuzzy for candidates presently, the desire for change is real in Short Creek. Candidates are openly calling for an ouster of a seemingly theocratic leadership, with Marion Timpson suggesting the candidates, “overthrow, abolish, and start over” the municipality from scratch. Applause and agreement radiated from the twilit Cottonwood Park crowd of roughly 150 last week.


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Take note, candidates and incumbents; voters are taking notes.       Photo by Eric Velander

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In all, this election season promises to be an exciting one. Change seems likely, though remains uncertain. This Editor encourages all to exercise their right to vote on Tuesday and again in November if they wish to see real change in the community.

Despite my personal misgivings about some details, I feel optimistic about all new candidates running. Council members willing to listen and serve all citizens equitably is a privilege I took for granted in my old home, and is a need I will never overlook in my new one. Happy election season!

Hildale Health Fair a Lively Success

Hundreds attend to receive vaccinations, physicals, and health education

HILDALE – Hundreds of Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona citizens crowded the gym of Water Canyon High School on Saturday, but it wasn’t for a Wildcat basketball game. They were there in force for Short Creek’s first-ever health fair. Dozens of cars, vans, and even a side-by-side ATV cluttered the parking lot until mid afternoon.

Children enjoyed the bouncy house and the free balloons, darting between volunteers from The Dream Center. Parents enjoyed the free screenings and volumes of health information for their families. One could even learn about the history of Nevada nuclear testing and the health effects of atomic bomb fallout, if they were so inclined.

The joint Physician Assistant program out of University of Utah and Dixie State provided a small army of their brightest red-shirted PA students to help take height and weight, perform vision screenings, and assist doctors with physicals.


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Photo by Eric Velander

“It looks like a triangle,” I overheard Hildale Mayor Jessop’s youngest say, peeking out of one eye. He was right, I think. I wasn’t wearing glasses, and Focus Eye Center noticed I was squinting. I made an appointment at their urging.

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The PA students gained valuable hands on experience with the public while helping our towns in need. All services, from blood pressure checks to screenings for diabetes risk factors were free to the public in Hildale, Colorado City, and surrounding municipalities.

Dozens of vaccinations and school physicals were performed just in time for school to start in a week or two. Young ones were provided a fluoride treatment and an update on baby teeth progress. Anja Kaonohi’s youngest two had a dozen or so to lose between them.


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Photo by Eric Velander

Intermountain Healthcare sent a traveling team from Utah Valley to perform 59 pre-diabetes, blood pressure, and depression-centric screenings. The table was full the entirety of the day, serving citizens with a comprehensive questionnaire and a coupon for local grocers.

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The public health situation in Short Creek has long been delicate. Between economic hardships and the requirement to drive an hour for adequate healthcare, many residents have gone without crucial preventative maintenance.

To help fill in this void, a permanent healthcare clinic will open in Hildale later this year, and the health fair will absolutely return in 2019.

Plans for next year have already started formulating in the minds of city officials and concerned citizens, alike. An “after action report” led by Hildale City Manager John Barlow sifted through strengths, missteps, and crowd-sourced plans for the future.

Event organizer Shirlee Draper had to say, at the end of the long and busy day, “It was phenomenal. It blew our expectations away.”


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Photo by Eric Velander

A Busy Week on Carling Street

New Water Canyon sign and flood mitigation update

HILDALE – After the wall came down outside of Water Canyon High School, Washington County Schools saw fit to erect a sign for our Wildcats! Residents will be able to see all sorts of school news on the LED display. The sign was built and installed by Yesco Signs and Young Electric of Saint George, Utah.


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Photo by Eric Velander

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Photo by Eric Velander

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Also happening on Carling Street is the always-developing flood mitigation project. Enjoy some pictures of the radically changing scenery! The project, started on 27 June 2018, will take no longer than 65 calendar days. The gentlemen from Feller Enterprises have wasted no time in keeping our cities safe from further flood damage.


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27 June 2018     “Then”     Photo by Eric Velander

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19 July 2018     “Now”     Photo by Eric Velander

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19 July 2018    “Now”     Photo by Eric Velander

Road Safety is Our Business

ATV routes to be established, crackdown on the way

According to the Marshal’s Office report last night in Colorado City, police and town councils will be planning and enforcing ATV routes through Short Creek presently. This also means an “interdepartmental crackdown” on unsafe off-road vehicle operation coming soon.

In the meantime, what are we doing as a community to keep our citizens safe?

I often worry as I watch young people and adults, alike, race up and down my street. They’re always popping wheelies and piling as many children as possible onto ATVs or into their truck beds.

I can’t count how many barely-pubescent boys I have spied driving 12-man vans into Maxwell Canyon to gather water with their brothers and sisters. I’ve seen security footage of someone unable to see over their steering wheel destroying a road sign in a truck, only to speed away.

The sign has since been replaced, but I cannot speak on any tickets written.

I’m new in town, and chalked this activity up to a benign cultural difference. Despite being a journalist, I’m really not here to ruffle feathers. People drive young and people drive crazy. That’s none of my business. I never once reported anything to the police because that’s just the way people operate here.

Well, as we can now see, that’s simply a bad call. Road safety is our business.

No more excuses. Right now, I am committing to being a bit more of a curmudgeon, if only to avoid the potential tragedies like we had on Saturday night. I’m going to start writing down descriptions of bad drivers of all ages and types of vehicles. I’m going to start reporting them. I encourage you to do the same.

We enjoy a lot of invisible freedoms in Short Creek and I’d love to see those stay intact. Those freedoms simply do not include being a reckless driver, and more police presence further erodes our lifestyle.

So, let’s talk to our families and friends about staying safe on ATVs and in large vehicles, alike. Let’s encourage safe behavior and consideration for neighbors. If safety is disregarded any longer, those actually-benign cultural quirks could go away.

_Eric

P.S. – Spinning cookies, doing donuts, and hot-dogging on grass fields, whatever you want to call it, has to stop. The public Works and Parks departments report vehicle-based vandalism every single city council meeting.

Vandalism is expensive and makes our parks look like crap. But cameras are being installed in the parks, so I guess it’s only a matter of time before arrests are made. Keep to the Creek unless you want your toys impounded.

Public Works Re-chips Canyon St, Airport Ave

Public Works is busy this month, re-chipping, building curbs, and more

COLORADO CITY / HILDALE – Public Works re-chipped Canyon Street today, and will move to Airport Avenue next. Johnson Avenue between Central Street and Hildale Street will also be getting some needed attention. But repaving and fixing potholes aren’t all Public Works’ hard-working employees do.

According to public Works Director Dean Cooke’s report on 11 July, a variety of projects seek to keep the streets safe and navigable for drivers and pedestrians through this monsoon season. Expect swept streets, new paint in crosswalks and center lines.

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Hildale City Office is a Touch More Welcoming

Making Hildale City Offices more open and friendly for customers

HILDALE – When you go to Hildale City Hall to pay your utility bill, how do you feel? Suffocated? Like you are in a fishbowl? Well, suffocate no longer! The glass has been removed!

Also, why are you still paying your bill in-person? Pay online with XPressBillPay!


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Roy Allred pays his utility bill      Photo by Eric Velander

The old glass had been an irritation enough that Hildale City Council member Maha Layton brought up the barrier during their campaigns. Direction from Utility Office Manager Vincen Barlow started the project swiftly, and the effects are already being felt by customers and city employees, alike.

Roy Allred, Hildale resident and frequent visitor, remarked on the improvement. “Wow! I can see who I’m talking to! It definitely feels more open, now.”

Hildale Administrative Assistant Angelene Chatwin could not be more excited about the renovation. “I don’t feel like I’m in jail when people come to pay their bills!”

Nathaniel Barlow will be working to finalize the project over the next few days.

Hildale Health Fair Open to All, SIGN UP TODAY

Free health services come to Short Creek 28 July

HILDALE – Hildale, Utah is hosting it’s first ever health fair on 28 July 2018 in the Water Canyon High School gym. Hildale City, Washington County Health Department, University of Utah, Dixie State, and Cherish Families are coming together to provide much-needed health services to Short Creek.

All community members from Colorado City, Arizona and other surrounding communities are encouraged to sign up as well.

Attendees must sign up beforehand for the screenings, and may call Hildale City Hall (435-874-2323) or fill out the form HERE to do so. The fair will be a place for community members to learn about their health, and receive crucial preventative care.


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Co-organizer for the event, Shirlee Draper, said, “We are so grateful to the University of Utah and all of the members of the Health Services Committee who have so committed to our community.”

According to their website: “The Cherish Families organization is committed to supporting people in underserved communities by providing access to resources and services that empower individuals and families in being whole and making choices that work for their specific needs.”

Draper is the Director of Operations of Cherish Families, an outspoken member of the Health Services Committee, and a UEP Trust board member.

Richard Bennett, co-organizer and University of Utah representative said:

“The Hildale Health Fair is an opportunity for University of Utah and Dixie State Physician’s Assistant students to get some much-needed practice with the public.”

University of Utah and Dixie State PAs-in-training will be present to help licensed doctors and physician’s assistants, while getting an opportunity to participate in service learning requirements.

Bennett said, “We want to encourage people to take control of their health. Own it themselves, and to grow healthy in many other ways, not just in healthcare.”

Service available include:

School physicals and immunizations

Cancer screenings

Hearing and vision screenings

Education on women’s health and nutrition

and MORE!

Don’t delay! Sign up today for the Hildale Health Fair today!

Planning Commissions Shake Up, Diverge

A resignation, four appointments, and an administration change shake, but don’t crumble, zoning boards

COLORADO CITY / HILDALE – A schism between sister cities further manifests as planning commission boards split. Opening prayers in Arizona ring out in stark contrast to the Pledge of Allegiance in Utah.

The separate planning commission boards for Colorado City, Arizona and Hildale, Utah met for the first time 2 July 2018. The boards have traditionally been technically separate but virtually identical in membership and function.


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Citizens gather in Colorado City for the Planning Commission          Photo by Eric Velander

Planning commissions for the twin governments write the general zoning plan, implement specific zoning ordinances, and approve land use permits. While the boards are now divergent in membership, each has made clear their collective intention to implement congruent zoning ordinances.

Nephi Steed Allred, brother to Mayor Joseph Allred and Chairman of both boards, resigned publicly Monday night, pledging two more months of service with each city. Allred cited personal and business reasons for his surprise departure. Additionally, longtime joint Planning and Zoning Director Jim Peterson is no longer working with either city. A replacement has not yet been employed.

Recent appointees to the Hildale Planning Commission include Randy Barlow, Charles Hammon, Brigham Holm, and Jenifer Kesselring. Aaron LaCorti was appointed to the Colorado City board Monday night. Commissioner Hammon is set to be the only member sitting on both boards, serving as a lynchpin in future collaborations between the cities.


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Hildale Planning Commission: From the left, Holm, Barlow, Allred, Hammon and Kesselring                        Photo by Eric Velander

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Commissioner Randy Barlow is considered radical in his vision for the community. Barlow has expressed interest in concerted zoning for a commercial district, redesigned residential areas and roads, and has been the mind behind the revitalization of Cottonwood Park.

While zero zoning ordinances are currently the law of the land in Short Creek, new drafts are being proposed to each board. A lack of clarity and specificity in previous editions has held back the perviously-joint commission from approving a workable city plan.

“This is the first step, and we still have work to do. This draft is a considerable improvement,” said Hammon, in reference to the unfinished 22-page zoning ordinance proposal for Colorado City. The finalized Hildale proposal is expected to mirror that of Colorado City.

Amid the shakeup, Chairman Allred assured the public, “The cities are in good hands.”