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http://www.villapark.org/history/ describes Villa Park in a crisp and straightforward way: “Here, you will find people with a wide range of backgrounds, interests, and occupations; quiet neighborhoods and attractive residential streets; the lowest crime rate in the County; and four schools within walking distance.” Villa Park is located in Orange County and with a population of just over 6,500 people it is the county’s smallest city. The city is very organized – it is zoned for single family homes that are all built on half acre lots. It has a livability index of 77 which makes it a very good place to live. One thing that makes Villa Park unique is that it has no street lights and no sidewalks. This is because residents want to retain a rural feel and keep neighborhoods quiet.

Villa Park was not always known by that name. Up until the 1860 it was known as Mountain View, but the US Post office refused to name the post office Mountain View because there was already another city by the same name. Residents voted to have the name changed to Villa Park and it has been that way ever since. Back then it derived its income from agriculture, with farmers growing crops such as grapes, walnuts and apricots. These were eventually phased out and farmers focused on growing citrus until the area gradually turned into residential lots. The city only has one small shopping center and right next to it is City Hall as well as a branch of the Orange County Public Library.

Villa Park is very different from other cities in California, as explained on Wikipedia: “There are no public parks within city limits; many homes have pools and/or tennis courts. Unlike more urban areas of Orange County west of the city, Villa Park has winding streets with few sidewalks and limited street lights. Throughout are trees and flower beds in planted medians and parkways. Surrounded by the city of Orange, Villa Park has the appearance of an enclave: the city’s early unwillingness to annex lands beyond Santiago Creek and those east of a power line easement between the city and Anaheim Hills.” 95% of people who live in Villa Park own their homes, and renters are subject to the same rules and regulations as everyone else.

According to http://www.villapark.org/history/, “The City is governed by five council members, each elected for four-year terms, who serve without pay and meet on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. Residents are encouraged to attend and participate in these meetings and the political life of the City. Council agendas are posted on the bulletin board outside of the City Hall. There are also a full-time appointed City Manager, a small office staff, and a maintenance crew. Police, fire, legal, and engineering services are contracted for outside of the City.”

The city also takes recycling and waste management seriously. The city website explains that “The City of Villa Park has a citywide recycling program with curbside pickup at each home, every week. Many items that can be recycled, such as newspaper, cardboard, all types of paper, aluminum cans and other metals, glass and several types of plastic are being collected from residents. These are placed in a large container provided by the trash hauler. The residents place it at the curb for recycling. At least 80% of the residents of Villa Park set their recyclable material out for collection. The City has reduced the amount of waste going to the landfill by more than 25%, by weight. There are no landfills in Villa Park. The City has an agreement with a private contractor who collects and disposes of all refuse generated in Villa Park. The contractor collects the recyclable materials separately and delivers them to a materials recovery facility. There they are sorted, compacted and sold to make new materials.”

The cost of living in Villa Park is 53% higher than the average in California, while the median household income is 145% higher than the state average. Residents who live here work in neighboring cities and are very well paid. The crime rate is 54% lower than the average in California while the high school graduation rate is 22% higher than the average across the state. The city is served by the Orange County School District and there are 4 public schools. Buying a home in Villa Park is more expensive than many other cities in California – the median home value is 152% higher than the state average. If, for example, you want to buy a 4 bedroom 6 bathroom home it will cost you about $1.5 million, while a 5 bedroom, 5 bathroom home will cost around $1.9 million.

Villa Park has one major annual event, the Great Inland Boat Parade and Holiday Celebration. According to http://www.orangecounty.net/cities/VillaPark_events.html, “This fun filled event consists of a parade of Christmas decorated land yachts (anything from a small boat pulled by a car to a horse wagon!) followed by the annual tree lighting ceremony. The parade generally begins at Villa Park High School at 18042 Taft Ave., ending in the Towne Center where holiday festivities continue.” The event takes place in December.

Unlike many other cities in California there aren’t very many things to do in Villa Park. Most residents have their own private pools but they have to travel to adjoining cities to enjoy things like beaches and theme parks.

Although home values in Villa Park are high it is definitely a great place to live if you can afford it. You will enjoy complete privacy, great scenery and a rural feel. Your neighbors will be friendly and welcoming and you will be able to go shopping close to home. You will also not have to worry about traffic unless you have to leave the community, and your children will enjoy growing up in a very safe community.