17 September 2008

Neighborhoods of Carbon Canyon, Part IV

As best as I can determine, Western Hills Oaks, which is a neighborhood emanating from Valley Springs Road south of Carbon Canyon, directly across from Western Hills Golf Course, was subdivided about 1970. The earliest dates I can find for homes in that subdivision date to 1971 and there are Los Angeles Times articles mentioning a "Carbon Canyon Hills" project late that year. Obviously, if anyone has any information about the origins of the community, I'd be happy to hear about it.

At any rate, this is a community of homes that run up Valley Springs and several tributary streets from Carbon Canyon Road to the first ridgeline of hills. Unlike Sleepy Hollow and Mountain View Estates, the 1920s-era subdivisions nearby to the west and on the same southern side of the canyon, this one has wide streets, although many of them, or many parts of them, are steep. Lots are also much larger, with a quarter of an acre appearing to be about the smallest and then sizes ranging to a couple of acres or more, in a few cases. The homes run from about 2,000 square feet on up with the earlier homes tending to be smaller and the newer ones much larger (following trends, naturally--did you know the average home square footage has about doubled since the early 1970s? I think the average then was 1,200 or something like that and now it's about 2,400, somewhere in that general range.) Being a steep hilly area, quite a number of homes are set back long distances from the road and there are many with excellent views.

The larger floorplans, bigger lots, wider streets, and, once you get up a few homes from Carbon Canyon Road, the sense of quiet and privacy make Western Hills Oaks a very desirable neighborhood, not, to me, unlike Olinda Village on the Brea side. During the height of what must now be called a bubble (as opposed to a boom) in the real estate market a couple or three years ago, homes here could not really be had for less than $700,000 or so. This has certainly changed and will probably drop significantly more as subprime foreclosures make way for adjustable rate reset foreclosures in upcoming months and years, but Western Hills Oaks has a lot of appeal for people wanting to enjoy a modicum of the rustic canyon lifestyle, but with many of the amenities of a tract-like subdivision. The difference here is that there are many custom homes and definitely not like later tracts in which there are three, four, or maybe five floorplans and a general sameness to the overall appearance. In Western Hills Oaks, as with its predecessors, a diversity of architecture as well as lot layouts and, therefore, landscaping look, predominates.

The only caveat I know of is that there has been some hillside slippage, although, admittedly, my knowledge of this comes from a house at the very top of the tract in which, I was told, the foundation had essentially cracked in two. Back in early 2004, when this home was for sale, it was for a song! Perhaps the foundation problems have been rectified.

There is one other item of note: Valley Springs Road is an emergency-only access point for Carbon Canyon Road closures, meaning that, in the event the road is inaccessible at points east (and north) of Western Hills Oaks, vehicles may be directed through a gate at the ridge above the tract and into the newly-developed exclusive community of Vellano to the south. This was a recent development as part of a new plan to provide for emergency mitigation on the Chino Hills side of the canyon.

All in all, Western Hills Oaks is a well-kept, desirable community of homes that, price-wise, is more or less in the middle range between the lower end Sleepy Hollow and Mountain View Estates and the higher end of Oak Tree Estates and Oak Tree Downs, with it being somewhat more expensive than Summit Ranch and less so than Carriage Hills.


David said...

Western Hills Oaks actually dates to the mid-1960s. There was a featured article in the LA-Times Sunday Home magazine in 1966 about a home built on Oakmont Way - just off of Carbon Canyon Road and Valley Springs. It was designed by Raul Garduno - an LA architect of some not in that era.

Paul said...

Hello David, thanks for your correction on the dating of Western Hills Oaks and the info on the 1966 house. A little Google search led to a .pdf of the July 1962 issue of "Arts and Architecture" magazine and a photo feature of a Garduño home. Very post-modern! I'll have to ask some architecture buffs I know about him. Do you know if the Oakmont Way house still stands?

David said...

Hi Paul,

Yes, the house still stands. It's a post and beam, but a bit more conventional than the Arts and Architecture home by Garduño, which I'm also aware of.

Out of respect for the current home owner, who I don't know, I won't publish the address. However, if you go to "Street View" on Google Maps for Oakmont Way in Chino Hills, I think you'll be able to figure it out. (smile)

Paul said...

Hello David, thanks for the return comment and I will take a look via Google Maps. There are actually a couple of post-modern homes in my neighborhood in Sleepy Hollow that I think are really interesting and add to the unusual character of our little community. Thanks again!