Welcome to the first in a series of articles authored by committee members of the Town of Paradise Valley Historical Advisory Committee.
The mission of the advisory committee is to, “Establish, compile, archive and maintain a historical record of the Town of Paradise Valley and produce appropriate literature to commemorate the town’s major anniversary dates.”
In keeping with this mission, a series of articles are being compiled to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the incorporation of the Town of Paradise Valley, May 25, 1961.
The Town of Paradise Valley was incorporated as a result of residents living in the area (Maricopa County land) wanting to protect the lifestyle many had come to appreciate. This lifestyle included open spaces with quiet surroundings without a lot of development.
Neighbors began to discuss ways to incorporate to protect the properties from being encroached upon by Phoenix or Scottsdale.
In the late 1950s, Phoenix and Scottsdale were looking to expand their respective boundaries. Residents who lived in Paradise Valley area feared that they would lose the rural lifestyle they had become accustomed to and would soon be swallowed up by Phoenix or Scottsdale, and eventually subdivisions, shopping centers, new zoning laws and property taxes would be a commonality.
These concerned residents formed a “Citizens Committee for the Incorporation of The Town of Paradise Valley, Arizona,” who set out with petitions urging residents to join them in their attempt to incorporate Paradise Valley.
The residents’ main goals were to keep zoning to a one house per acre minimum; to keep the area entirely residential; and to keep government regulation to a minimum.
In April 1961, the Citizens Committee for Incorporation presented their petition to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. On May 24, 1961, incorporation was granted, and the Town of Paradise Valley was established.
William Rehnquist, former Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court and the Attorney for the Town of Paradise Valley circa 1964, made this statement which is an excerpt from an interview done May 8, 2001:
“I represented the Paradise Valley Improvement Association before the Town of Paradise Valley existed. Come to think of it, that’s probably why I got the job. But in those days, it was part of the county and Paradise Valley wanted to keep it one-acre zoning. There was a Board of Supervisors consisting of three people, and a Zoning Board under Colonel Bafford. He was from Paradise Valley and favorable for Paradise Valley. Those fights went on when the Town of Paradise Valley didn’t exist. It was simply a group of people in that area who wanted to preserve their zoning. I think that was one of the main reasons for incorporating.”
And so, the story begins of the Town of Paradise Valley.
The interview with Justice Rehnquist in its entirety can be found at https://www.paradisevalleyaz.gov/95/Town-History.
Editor’s Note: This article was submitted on behalf of the Paradise Valley Historical Advisory Committee. The members of the committee are: Chair Catherine Kauffman, Anne Andeen, Kathryn Gasser, Katrina Lessard, Maureen Strom, Beth Wickstrom, John Wintersteen and Anna Thomasson serves as the City Council liaison.