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Open spaces, parks, lots of parking, lots and lots of trees all around, great weather, the lake, great people – all these are reasons why so many people love living in Westlake Village, California. This planned community which lies across the Los Angeles and Ventura, is home to about 9,000 people, was originally known only as Westlake which was annexed by the city of Thousand Oaks between 1968 and 1972. However, Thousand Oaks had annexed only two thirds of the city, and eventually Westlake Village was incorporated as a city in 1981. Today, it stands as one of the most organized communities in the area and people who live there love it for many reasons.
The original settlers of Westlake Village were the Chumash Indians more than 3,000 years ago. Today, excavations show that this was an economically complex society that had developed a variety of tools that they used to survive on a rich diet of game such as rabbits, acorns, grain and more. Modern day settlers can be traced back to 1770 when Captain Gaspar de Portola and his party of explorers and missionaries arrived. One of the missionaries, on arrival and camping near one of the Chumash villages, recorded, “We are on a plain of considerable extent and much beauty, forested on all parts by live oaks and oak trees, with much pasturage and water.”
25 years later the population and economic activities changed rapidly. According to Wikipedia, “In 1795, the area became part of one of the first Spanish land grants, Rancho Simi, given to the Pico family. When Mexico won independence from Spain in 1821, Alta California became Mexican territory, and the Rancho Simi grant was confirmed in 1842. At the time California was admitted to the union in 1850, most of the land that later became Ventura County was divided among only 19 families. The picturesque future Westlake Village site among rising knolls, arroyos, barrancas and ancient oaks was recognized as the central part of two Mexican land grants: Rancho El Conejo and Rancho Las Virgenes.” In 1881 a family of brothers bought 6,000 acres of land with a $20 gold piece which they used to ranch. They did this for many years until 1925 when ownership changed hands.
Much of Westlake Village as it appears today can be traced back to Daniel K. Ludwig who in 1963 bought the ranch for $32 million, announcing that he would use it to build a city in the country that become an established economic seat. It would have commercial areas, residential homes, parks and other amenities with the lake acting as the focal point. The area has continued to grow and prosper since.
One of the reasons why so many people choose Westlake Village to settle in is the weather. Whereas many cities in California have very hot summers, Westlake Village has bearable weather almost year round. There are some years when temperatures can go as high as 96F but this should not discourage you from making plans to move there because you have a beach less than 20 minutes away.
Most of the people in Westlake Village are white, but there are also African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Polynesians and other races. Most of the people who live in this planned community have families so it is a great place to bring up kids. In fact, the school district has a graduation rate that is 22% higher than the average for California. There are great schools nearby and older students who qualify for college can feed into those in nearby cities.
Dole Food Company is one of the employers in the community. It has its headquarters there on a 30 acre lot north of the Ventura Freeway. Development has been slowed down by contaminated ground water. The top employers are BOA Home Loans, Move Inc., farmers Insurance Group, Costco, K-Swiss, the Westlake Village Inn and Securitas.
Living in Westlake is not cheap. Living costs are 37% higher than the average for California but this is helped by the fact that the median income for families is 88% higher than the state average. Although you will pay more for groceries, medical treatment, transportation and other daily expenses it is home costs that are highest. If you want to buy a home in Westlake Village you should be prepared to pay about 101% higher than the California average. A 5 bedroom home sells for about $1.6 million while a regular 2 bedroom home with a bath will cost about $400,000.
Because there is so much open space all around there is plenty to do outdoors. Other than spending your day in one of the parks you can also choose to go biking, hiking or have lunch and a day by the lake. If you want to venture out you can head to Malibu Beach which is just 20 minutes away. The city also has an active nightlife – after a day spent outdoors you can hop the clubs and see what they have to offer. There are many restaurants that serve all kinds of cuisine and you will be happy to know that much of it is fresh straight out of surrounding farms. You can buy fresh produce in the supermarket or in the farmers market – it is up to you. The city prides itself in being one of the safest in the United States – the crime rate is 23% lower than the California average. There is a thriving senior community living here, most of them attracted by the favorable weather.
In a nutshell, Westlake Village is a great place to live regardless to whether you are single or you have a family. So long as you can afford it you will find that it has a lot to offer. Not only will you enjoy great weather and activities all year round, you will also have great neighbors and good employers who are willing to pay you a decent salary.