The area we know today as Valley Village was first recognized by the City of Los Angeles in 1939. Soon thereafter the community came together at a meeting on the grounds of the King Charney Rancho on Magnolia Boulevard where plans were laid for launching a beautification project. This was the beginning of the community activism that has led devoted volunteers to work together as neighbors to improve the quality of life in Valley Village.
When the threat of out-of-scale four- and five-story apartment buildings looming over our residential streets grew in the 1980s, residents formed a homeowners group to address this concern. In 1986, the Valley Village Homeowners Association was incorporated. The group chose to use the name Valley Village inasmuch as the Post Office branch had carried that name from the beginning. The request was taken to the Los Angeles City Council and with the help of former councilmembers Joel Wachs, John Ferraro and Zev Yaroslavsky, the blue signs designating “Valley Village” went up in 1991.
To complete the process of fighting oversized apartment buildings, a "Specific Plan" was needed to restrict height and guarantee low density in both commercial and private home construction: No new commercial buildings may be higher than 36 feet and no homes higher than 30 feet. Among its many provisions, the Specific Plan prohibits certain types of commercial enterprises from setting up anywhere in Valley Village, it regulates the placement of balconies and rooftop installations on apartment buildings, and it requires appropriate landscaping around them. Though the Specific Plan is undergoing an extensive review at the present time, the rules of the current version prevail and the plan may be found elsewhere on this website.
Thus, today Valley Village residents enjoy what many communities do not, which is a limit on the height of apartment buildings that overlook the backyards of single-family homes. It should also be noted that the Specific Plan cannot be applied in some pockets of the community due to the zoning of the properties within it.
For years, the Valley Village Homeowners Association communicated with its members by holding quarterly general meetings and sending out a quarterly newsletter. Then a new tradition was started when the Association began hosting the July 4th Parade. This has become a beloved treasure of our community. Residents decorate floats and bicycles and everyone makes their way along the parade route, arriving at Valley Village Park, where they visit with one another and food and drink are served.
At its meeting in January 2021, the members voted to change the name of the association from the Valley Village Homeowners Association to the Valley Village Residents Association to more accurately represent all members of the Valley Village community. The new name has not altered the Association’s objectives of communicating with its members about relevant issues concerning the neighborhood and building volunteer opportunities for members to participate and meet new neighbors, in fact we think it enhanced it.
--Written by Gil Shorr, Ellen Wilheim and Sandy Hubbard
Copyright © 2021 Valley Village Residents Association, a community advocacy group. All Rights Reserved.