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.


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.

(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.


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.

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


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.

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


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.

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.


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.

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.


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.”

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.

Photo by Eric Velander

Photo by Eric Velander


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.

27 June 2018     “Then”     Photo by Eric Velander

19 July 2018     “Now”     Photo by Eric Velander

19 July 2018    “Now”     Photo by Eric Velander

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.


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!

Flood Mitigation Project Begins

Construction of detention pond and drainage projects starts 27 June

HILDALE – A flood control project including a new detention basin and sand-encased drainage pipe began 27 June 2018. Construction for the project will center near Carling Street and North Canyon Street. Work is contracted to take no more than 65 calendar days.

Hildale City Council approved the bid for $482,911 by Feller Enterprises of St. George, Utah on 6 June 2018. The approved bond will cost Hildale City approximately $30,000 yearly, for the next 20 years.

Photo by Eric Velander

Hildale Mayor Donia Jessop added:

“I want to give a special ‘thank you’ to the Utah Permanent Impact Fund Board of C.I.B., and their Program Manager, Candace Powers. They granted $350,000 and loaned the remainder of the costs to Hildale City. We wouldn’t be able to do this project without them.”

City leadership made their intentions very clear; the improvements to the flood control system are for the continued safety of citizens. A tragic September 2015 storm made flood control a priority for Hildale administration.

“It is very hard to talk about flood control without getting emotional because of the 14 lives that were lost in the flood three years ago,” said Mayor Jessop. “Hildale is spending nearly 1 million dollars on flood control to ensure that something like that never has to happen again.”

Photo by Eric Velander

Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona reside in a flood plain, and have a high risk of property damage and potential for loss of life following rainfall. According to the Hildale City Code:

“The areas of special flood hazard [were] identified by the FEMA in a scientific and engineering report entitled, ‘The Flood Insurance Study for Hildale City,’ dated April 4, 2009.”


A Most Wanted Wall Demolition

“Making this a city about welcome instead of a city about walls.”

HILDALE –  A wrecking crew is taking out sections of thick, 15-foot white walls on Utah Ave today. Remedy Excavating of Hildale, Utah is handling the demolition as well as the now-completed demolition of the walls outside Water Canyon High School.

Willie Jessop, property owner and sponsor of the project said they are improving accessibility to the bed and breakfast grand entry. Major portions of the walls will remain around the property.

Photo by Eric Velander

Formerly the Jeffs Compound, and now America’s Most Wanted Bed and Breakfast, the property was hastily built after Warren Jeffs was sentenced to life in prison in 2007. The mansion sat empty prior to the bed and breakfast, which began operations in 2014.

Jessop went on to say about the recent changes in the Short Creek landscape, “We’re glad to see our community continue to improve it’s image; we’re making this a city about welcome instead of a city about walls.”

Photo by Eric Velander


Fourth of July Celebration Needs Your Help

Landmark Short Creek observance at 19% funding of $15,000 goal

HILDALE/COLORADO CITY – The Fourth of July celebration is coming up quickly, and Short Creek Festivities needs your help turn the new and improved Cottonwood Park into a party. Short Creek Festivities, started by George and Merriam Jessop, are in their third year of providing breakfast, music, local vendors, a parade, and fireworks to the Short Creek community.

“Short Creek Festivities is a committee of life long residents of the combined communities of Hildale, Utah, Colorado City, Arizona and Centennial Park, Arizona. We are determined to rebuild our communities and see them begin to thrive economically and socially.”

Entertainment this year includes musical acts, dance routines, and of course a fireworks display to cap the evening. YOU can help by donating to the cause, and of course, attending the celebration on our nation’s birthday.

Photo courtesy of Short Creek Festivities

Canaan Mountain Herald and this list of sponsors will see you on the Fourth of July at 6:00 AM for the Mayor’s Walk!

A Chief of Two Cities

Short Creek swears in Chief Marshal twice in one week

HILDALE/COLORADO CITY – Chief Marshal Mark Askerlund was sworn in at the Colorado City, Arizona Town Council meeting 11 June 2018. Chief Askerlund will again swear in as Hildale, Utah’s Chief Marshal on 13 June 2018. Policing the border towns requires officers of all ranks to obtain certification in both Arizona and Utah, though the Marshals are headquartered in Colorado City.

Photo by Eric Velander

A 33-year veteran of Utah policing, Chief Askerlund came out of retirement to make changes in the twin cities’ Marshal’s Office. Askerlund had to say about his three-year Short Creek assignment:

“My overall goal is to take the department forward, and to quote [Colorado City] Mayor Joseph Allred, ‘Push the reset button.’ We start over. We just move forward, from here on, and we put the past behind us, and go out and police the community to the best of our abilities.”

Chief Askerlund also expressed interest in broadening police involvement in the community by assigning resource officers to schools and obtaining K9 certification.

“Moving forward, I’d like to take the core group of officers that we have and provide them training, chances to improve their skills, and to improve themselves as police officers.”

Chief Askerlund’s stated personal goal is to “leave the department better than I found it.” He went on to say, “With proper leadership, proper training, and proper access to those tools we need, I believe we can become one of the best police departments in the state.”

Citizens of Short Creek can expect changes to policing under Chief Askerlund, starting with uniform markings on patrol vehicles and three new patrol officers from within the community. Additionally, Chief Askerlund is interested in hiring an experienced sergeant to assist with administrative and leadership needs.

Water Canyon High School Wall is Coming Down

Demolition sponsored by Washington County School District will last a week

HILDALE – The large concrete wall on the west side of Water Canyon High School is being demolished starting today. The project sponsored by Washington County School District and is being led by Remedy Excavating of Hildale, Utah. According to Royce Jessop, owner of Remedy Excavating, the demolition will last about a week.

Steve Dunham of Washington County School District said about the demolition, “We’re excited to see the wall come down. It’s pretty symbolic for the community.”

Photo by Eric Velander

Dunham expressed excitement in finding a local contractor to demolish the wall for a competitive price. The $21,000 bid was lower than the first phase of the project a year ago, which only cut sections of the wall.

Community members are excited about changes to the scenery, and had expressed concern for driver visibility while exiting the parking lot in the past. Once work is complete, a beautiful view of the mountains opens up to students in Hildale’s only high school.

Photo by Eric Velander