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Valley Briefing

Agoura Hills Portrait

October 13, 1996

When the area now known as Agoura Hills was settled in the 1920s, it was a community devoted to sheepherding and cattle grazing.

While a few sheep still graze near Kanan Road and the Ventura Freeway, the area has grown into a thriving, family-oriented community.

It's home to the Santa Monica Mountains National Park Service Visitor Center, six public parks and a year-round weekly farmers' market.

Ladyface Mountain keeps watch over the young city with its scenic hillsides and oak trees.

At the turn of the century, there were only a handful of ranches in the area. In 1928, the U.S. Postal Service named the area Agoura for a Basque sheepherder, Pierre Agoure, who owned17,000 acres locally in the late 19th century.

Modern development began appearing in the mid- to late-1960s. Rapid growth in the late '70sprompted voters to approve incorporation as the city of Agoura Hills on Nov. 2, 1982. Residents overwhelmingly chose Agoura Hills over Las Virgenes as the name of their new city. The area known as Agoura is in unincorporated Los Angeles County.

Many families moved to Agoura Hills for its well-regarded public schools in the Las Virgenes unified district, and found a welcoming community.

Area Highlights

Lake and golf course: Lake Lindero--perhaps Agoura hills' best-kept secret--is nearly hidden from public view except for a fleeting glimpse available to those passing along Lake LinderoDrive. Homeowners enjoy sailing, and weekend fishermen have caught bass, catfish and bluegill in the unstocked, 15-acre private lake that was formed when a nearby creek was dammed up many years ago.

The lake and nearby Lake Lindero Country Club are owned by the area's homeowners association, which recently signed a long term lease with Golf Projects International to take over the fiscally ailing, semiprivate, nine-hole course and maintain the lake.

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New equestrian park: Just beyond a large wooden sign proclaiming "Old Agoura" is the city's newest park, with its state-of-the-art equestrian center that connects with the Zuma Ridge Trail running through the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. It also hasa playground and barbecue area.

Local Issues

Utility tax and recall: Two years ago, the city council passed a 4% utility tax without a public vote, saying it was needed to close a $1-million annual budget gap--and drew the wrath of a citizens group that launched an unsuccessful recall effort against all five council members. The tax was repealed by the voters last June.

Without the extra money, the council cut certain projects from the city budget, including funds for a new library and a plan to improve traffic circulation at Kanan Road and the Ventura Freeway.

Gym and community center: The cities of Agoura Hills and Calabassas plan to jointly build a28,000-square-foot, $3-million regional gymnasium and community center on 4.5 acres next to the Lost Hills Sheriff's Station in Calabassas. Each city would spend $1.4 million.

Creekside Center: The city's second multiscreen theater complex is proposed for the 95,300-square-foot Creekside Center on 16.6 acres at the southwest corner of Kanan and Agoura roads. Developer Vance Moran wants to build the $15 million complex less than half a mile from the eight-screen Mann Theatres.

History

Remains of Chumash Indians found locally date back more than 800 years. King Philip of Spain ordered troops to invade the area in the 18th century, and named it El Rancho de Nuestra Senora La Reina de Las Virgenes. Explorer Gaspar de Portola led a Spanish expedition through the area in 1770.

In the early 1800s, the grant passed to Dona Maria Antonia Machado del Reyes and her heirs built a hacienda known as Reyes Adobe in 1820--now the city's oldest structure.

Community Profile

Population: 20,390

Median age: 33

Number of households: 6,626

Persons per household: 3.1

Owner-occupied housing units: 80%

Population below the piverty level:3.5%

Population over 18 with a bachelor's degree or higher: 405

Income:

Average household income is about 46% higher than the Los Angeles city average.

Agoura Hills: $84,630

Citywide: $45,701

Northeast Valley: $44,444

Southeast Valley: $48,182

Northwest Valley: $56,427

Southwest Valley: $61,722

Ethnicity

Asian: 7%

Latino: 6%

African American: 1%

White: 86%

Source: 1990 Census

Source: Cities of Agoura Hills and Calabasas, staff reports.

Researched by STEPHANIE STASSEL / Los Angeles Times

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