Westlake Village is a manicured, master- planned suburb of lakeside condos and sprawling ranch homes. Like neighboring Agoura Hills and Thousand Oaks, its family- friendly fusion of safe streets, quality schools, picturesque hillsides, and hiking and equestrian trails attracts residents seeking serenity.
FOR THE RECORD: Westlake Village —A Sept. 19 Neighborly Advice column about Westlake Village incorrectly identified Oak Forest Mobile Estates as the Sherwood Forest Mobile Home Park. Also, the community lies inside the western border of L.A. County, not the eastern border.
The community of Westlake Village emerged in 1966 when the American Hawaiian Steamship Co. began constructing a lakefront residential development straddling the L.A.-Ventura county line. Since the county line runs down the middle of the lake, many Westlake residents actually live in Thousand Oaks, even if their mailing addresses state Westlake Village.
The 5.4-square-mile city of Westlake Village, incorporated in December 1981, lies inside the western border of L.A. County and has roughly 8,800 residents.
Good news, bad news
Much of Westlake Village is bordered by open space, including hiking and horse trails, as well as the vast Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. The town is nine miles inland from the Pacific, and coastal breezes seep through canyons to allow Westlake to stay up to 10 degrees cooler and considerably less smoggy than nearby San Fernando Valley during the summer months.
The 101 Freeway, Westlake's lifeline to Los Angeles and Ventura, is routinely congested during rush hour, although less so on weekends.
Shopping is limited to supermarkets and boutique stores. Residents must trek to Thousand Oaks or Woodland Hills to find the nearest regional mall.
Westlake Village is peaceful and proud of it. The tree-lined uniformity of this blueprinted 'burb isn't for trendy urbanites seeking a cosmopolitan scene.
Though known primarily as an upscale bedroom community, Westlake Village is home to several major corporations, including Dole Food, K-Swiss and Homestore. State Farm Insurance has offices there, and other major employers, including biotech giant Amgen, are nearby.
Outdoor activities abound. In addition to hiking and riding, the beaches of Malibu and Ventura are 20 minutes away via mountain roads or the 101. "The quality of life is great," said Century 21 broker associate Arlene Bryant, who has sold homes in the area for more than 20 years.
Single-family detached resales:
*Year to date
Like many upscale hamlets, Westlake Village is well served by golf courses and country clubs. The Westlake Village Golf Course, off the 101, is verdant if noisy. More exclusive venues include Sherwood Country Club to the west and North Ranch Country Club and Lakeview Canyon Golf Course to the north.
This isn't to say, however, that a substantial stock portfolio is a requirement for residency. In the Oak Forest Mobile Home Park, in a secluded southeast corner of the Village, prefab homes sell for as little as $380,000.
With mobile homes routinely selling in the mid-six figures, Westlake Village isn't known for its affordable housing. The median price for a single-family detached home is well above $700,000, and houses on large, horse-friendly lots can easily fetch $1.5 million or more. Bryant recently sold a four-bedroom, 3,270-square-foot ranch home for $1,625,000.
Sale prices in the last 200 days range from $329,000 for a mobile home to $6.1 million for a five-bedroom, six-bath mansion. Condo prices range from $350,000 for a two-bed- room, apartment-conversion-style home, to $700,000 for lakefront townhomes.
Westlake Village is served by the Conejo Valley and Las Virgenes school districts. Westlake High School is in Ventura County and is part of the Conejo Valley School District. White Oak Elementary School, in the city of Westlake Village (in Los Angeles County), belongs to the Las Virgenes School District. Confusing, yes. But both school districts score well on statewide tests.
In the Conejo Valley School District, the 2003 Academic Performance Index scores for elementary schools range from 716 to 920; for middle schools, from 815 to 869; and for high schools, from 780 to 804. The Las Virgenes School District's 2003 API scores ranged from 825 to 903 for the elementary schools and from 839 to 860 for the middle schools. Its two high schools each scored 804.
Sources: DataQuick Information Systems; City of Westlake Village website, http://www.wlv.org ; api.cde.ca.gov.