The City of Scotts Valley
By Agnes Knox Lewis, 1976 (printed in the Cavalcade Souvenir Program)

Calvacade Brochure Cover A city sprang to life virtually in the center of Santa Cruz County, where the years and traffic had rolled peacefully by. For my husband and me it all began in 1958, when we chose to enlarge a small house at the foot of the western slope on the floor of the first large valley. The trees were tall and green all year around on the hillsides coming from San Jose on Los Gatos Highway. We didn't know then that this location was halfway between the choice of two old-timers. The earliest of these was Hiram Scott, whose house was moved to make room for a wider Los Gatos Highway in 1936. The original location, south of us, saw his typical New England type cottage erected in 1852 or 1853. Some forty years later, a three story, 1879, Victorian was built to the north of us by the William S. Thomson's, later known as the Frapwell house.

On the east side of Los Gatos Highway, in 1958, there were three charming barns, between which the cows munched the green grass. Like everyone else we hoped the living picture would last. However, time must be served; and at great cost Highway 17 bisected the valley, eliminating two of the barns and all of the milk cows. When the freeway was finished, in July 1961, a side effect was to destroy the small businesses on old Los Gatos Highway from Granite Creek Road to Camp Evers. The endless chain of dancing lights from cars on the freeway was a poor exchange to view, but the change does not end there.

An article in the September 1960, Santa Cruz Sentinel, turned out to be the turning point that eventually produced the City of Scotts Valley. This article described a memorial park (cemetery) on the only level grassy location east of the freeway at the front of the wooded hillside. My disbelief was soon made real when Lucy Dolph phoned to say that the view homes, two air miles away on Sandhill Road, would also have a full view and thus planned to protest. Would I join them? Protest we did! I spoke for the three of us and found we were not alone. The room was full of dissatisfied people.

Chairman of the County Planning Commission, Wayne Hall, asked the memorial park's developer, Warren Thal, to outline the project to the approximately twenty-two protesters at a special meeting. That meeting was the beginning of a long struggle at hearings and in the courts. It was evident that we would need organization, and so, the Scotts Valley Property Owners Association Incorporated came into being, with legal help from our attorney, Dent Snider. I was voted temporary Chairman in December, 1960, and President of the Association for the next three years.

The County General Plan had just cleared two public hearings when Area 3 (Scotts Valley) was scheduled for discussion. The S.V.P.O.A. discovered we had more than the cemetery to worry over and so they formed "Citizens Committees" to present their findings, headed by H.C. Hardwick, Recreation; L.J. Cardwell, Industrial; Harry Wiens, Commercial; Eldon V. Toll, Transportation; Friend Stone, Water; H.C. Smathers, Residential; and Floyd Garrett, Community Appearance. The new County Planning Director Burt Muhly, praised the proficient reports even though they sometimes disagreed with the preliminary plan designed by the consulting firm of Wilsey, Ham and Blair.

The two largest water mutuals in the area were in trouble due to over extension and pipes in need of constant repair. The out-cropping of granite precluded everyone from digging wells on a lot. The aquifer culminated in an underground basin beneath the cemetery property, freeway and south end of the valley held in by a natural granite wall. So the 190 members of the S.V.P.O.A. accepted in principle the Water Committee's proposal for a water district. With the aid of Supervisor Robert Burton, the formation of the Scotts Valley County Water District was brought to a vote of the people. Friend Stone became the first President of the Board on September 26, 1961; the same night the County Supervisors voted 3-2 to adopt the General Plan.

Meanwhile, the cemetery fight continued. When the Carl Dettling's sold their Mt. Hermon Road property another dairy went the way of progress. A large supermarket was being discussed. Only one dairy was still operating now on the Donald Santos property bordering both sides of Glenwood Road. Between the north end and Mt. Hermon Road, we at one time boasted twelve gas stations, something of a record, I imagine.

Now that the severed community had pulled itself together, it seemed to be the target for everything and anything, leading to talk of incorporation. A two-year study by the S.V.P.O.A. Commercial Committee, headed by Harry Wiens, was cut short when the city of Santa Cruz annexed the Skypark Airport, and there was talk of making a truck-loading depot on the west side of Highway 17 across from the proposed cemetery. The pros and cons of incorporation without a city tax were hotly discussed, resulting in a close vote on April 14, 1964. The vote was contested for two years in court before the elected Councilmen took office on August 2, 1966. The first mayor was Bill Graham; Vic Mayor, Charles R. Roberson; and Councilman Willis Lotts. The other two, James D. Alford and Ken Stacy, had moved out of the area, requiring the appointment of Paul Couchman and James Kennedy.

At long last, the cemetery issue was heard before the State Cemetery Board. The new-owner proponent failed to appear and before another hearing could be arranged the permit ran out.

Ten eventful years have passed and we've successfully progressed without a city tax until this year. The changes are taking place. The values are going up like the taxes. We still have the finest climate and gracious people. With attention to preserving the past and modifying the future to suit a rural atmosphere; the only disappointment noted is the fact that our Federal and State Government have mandated regulations our community could do just as well without.