BEAVER — Building permits have more than quadrupled in Beaver in the past year and that has some people worried.
Beaver County Sheriff Cameron Noel has lived in the same area for 25 years, and he can’t believe how fast homes are going up in his neighborhood.
“They bought this whole section out here is what I was told,” Noel said. “One day there was nothing and the next day they were here.”
The sheriff is referring to a small influx of residents moving into his county from the Hildale, Washington County, and Colorado City, Arizona, communities, which are home to many members of the polygamous Fundamentalist LDS Church.
“If you see a lady in a prairie dress, more than likely she’s a polygamist,” Noel said. “And those are the families who have moved into our community.”
“I’ve had a few citizens talk to me about their concerns with the people moving in with their relation with the FLDS out of Hildale,” said Beaver Mayor Craig Wright.
“My concerns are that they have come into this community and that they are, No. 1, law-abiding citizens, just like anyone else that comes in,” he said. “Since they have lived here, they have not caused any problems as far as law enforcement issues.”
The sheriff expressed specific concerns about children and said he hopes the children that are new to the community are getting the education they need.
“We see a lot of these children,” Noel said. “We’re pretty confident they’re polygamists, but they’re not at school and they’re not obtaining an education. They’re not at a level they need to be at as far as reading, writing and arithmetic.”
Wright said the dozen or so families who have moved to Beaver so far. “Like I said, we’ve had no problems so far,” Wright said. “They’ve been trying really hard to be good neighbors.”
It’s also entirely possible those moving to Beaver are trying to escape from the lifestyle they used to live, the sheriff said, and he wants to help them.
“I want to make sure if they are victims of being worked, employment practices or children or sex crimes or anything like that,” Noel said. “I do want to make sure that they trust me and law enforcement in case they do ever need our services.”