12 July 2008

Neighborhoods of Carbon Canyon, Part Two

Olinda Village is a close-knit community of about 120 houses on the north side of Carbon Canyon Road (State Highway 142) on the Brea side of the canyon. First subdivided in 1964, the community is laid out along six streets with homes ranging from modest one-story ranch-style structures to massive McMansions engineered into steep hillsides at the top of the development. While the merits of the latter can be debated ad infinitum, Olinda Village retains the feel of a well-kept, unpretentious neighborhood.
Within a couple of years, the community will lose one of its most valuable assets: Olinda School, a small, high-performing elementary school tucked into a corner of the subdivision. Citing the cost of maintaining a campus that has a low attendance compared to other schools and arguing that a new, long-planned school to be built on old oil field property at Lambert Road and Valencia Avenue should accomodate Olinda children for efficiency as well as cost, the Brea-Olinda Unified School District is shuttering Olinda School.
Another community feature looks like it has lived long past its intended use: this is the small shopping center built adjacent to Carbon Canyon Road. Aside from Carbon Canyon Realty and the Sol de México restaurant, most of the center is either deserted or barely hanging on, with some medical testing office and a storefront church the only other apparent tenants.

I've already given this pitch once but, folks, try Sol de México restaurant. It is very good, authentic, home-cooked, fresh and family-owned. In this world overrun with chain restaurants (some, of course, are just fine), there's a real need to help the little guy compete, especially when the food is as good as it is as Sol de México.
Anyway, Olinda Village is a highly-desirable place to live. Homes rarely come on the market and when they do, they don't tend to last long (well, that might have changed a little lately). There are residents who have been there for decades and my understanding is that there is a very neighborly feeling there.
Across Carbon Canyon Road is another neighborhood, a mobile home park called Hollydale. I don't know what the relationship is between the folks from Olinda and those from Hollydale, but, to me, they're in the same neighborhood and have to deal with many of the same issues. First and foremost, naturally, is traffic and related matters concerning Carbon Canyon Road. Turning onto the road in this area is especially difficult and dangerous because of the steep approach on both sides and drivers' tendency to drive pretty fast through this section. I've got to say: mobile home communities get a bad rap, although the ones where the residents own the land are usually much better, but Hollydale's location is pretty hard to beat, especially those lots that face the confluence (ooh, big word) of Soquel and Carbon canyons. The terrain at Hollydale slopes downward from the road, so the further you are from it, the quieter it is. Unfortunately, there is space rent there.
Another plus to Olinda: there is access to the recent addition to Chino Hills State Park to the north of the community. I've only hiked there once, but there is some beautiful scenery back there. Of course, if the "Canyon Crest" developments gets built, there will be some impact, but that section of the park is a much less utilized area than the rest of it across the canyon.
The Los Angeles Times did run a "Neighborly Advice" column for Olinda back in 2005, a year before one was done on Sleepy Hollow. As with the latter, I'm not sure there's another part of Brea that would be considered for the column (but who knows?)

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