With award-winning schools, attractive neighborhoods, and fabulous shopping, dining and entertainment, Aliso Viejo is certainly a popular place to live. The City, which is continually ranked one of the safest cities in the nation, boasts rolling hillside, valley terrain and picturesque views of mountains, streams, parks and city lights.
This South County city became Orange County’s 34th city when it incorporated on July 1, 2001 due to the efforts of the Aliso Viejo Cityhood 2000 Committee, which was responsible for introducing an initiative on the ballot for the 2001 special election. Voters passed the initiative with 93.3% in favor of incorporation.
The City of Aliso Viejo is a master planned community that was developed to contain a balance between residential neighborhoods, community parks, facilities and schools as well as an appropriate mix of business, office and retail uses. The City is home to the headquarters of several large corporations and the community features ample employment opportunities and extensive recreational facilities. The City also enjoys access to the Orange County trail system. Wood Canyon Wilderness Park is home to many rare and endangered plants and animals, along with mature oaks, sycamore and elderberry trees and year-round streams. An abundance of parks and trails, cultural and recreational activities and youth sports programs further enhance the quality of life for a community with a vision to ensure long-term viability.
In 2009, Aliso Viejo was listed as one of “America’s Top 25 Towns to Live Well” by Forbes.com. This City of roughly 47,823 ranked 16th among the top towns in the nation.
As a general law city, the City of Aliso Viejo develops policies and procedures in accordance with California State law. Aliso Viejo contracts for many of its services including police, fire, legal, public works, engineering, code enforcement, building & safety, street maintenance and street sweeping. Additional City-contracted services include animal care, and trash pick up. Library services are provided by the Orange County Library System. Landscape maintenance of most slopes, medians, and parks are administered by AVCA, with the exception of Iglesia Park, which the City owns. The City and AVCA share in the responsibility of providing an array of outstanding recreational programs, special events and activities to the community.
Aliso Viejo became Orange County’s 34th City on July 1, 2001, yet it’s a community grounded in a rich history that echoes other south Orange County cities.
The community name derives from Spanish for “old alder” or “old sycamore.”
Aliso Viejo was originally part of the 22,000-acre Moulton Ranch. In the 1890s, the Moulton family took ownership of land the Mexican government originally granted to Juan Avila in 1842. In 1976, Mission Viejo Company purchased the last 6,600 acres for a new master-planned community. The ultimate vision for Aliso Viejo was to feature neighborhoods that mix homes, workplaces, stores and services. A transit-friendly, energy-conscious and land-conserving community, Aliso Viejo was to foster a sense of community by creating a friendlier streetscape, quality infrastructure like parks, schools and new roads, shopping close to home, community services and neighbors that genuinely feel connected to the community and to one another in some fashion.
The county approved the master plan for the community in 1979 – and by March of 1982 – the first residential units were offered for sale. About eight months later, the first residents arrived. Shea Properties purchased the Mission Viejo Company in 1988.
In February of 1995, the Self-Governance Subcommittee of Governmental Affairs, an offshoot of the Aliso Viejo Community Association (AVCA), which was the first community-wide property owner’s association of its kind in the state, began its push to make Aliso Viejo a city. Two years later, Aliso Viejo Cityhood 2000 was born. In March of 1999, Aliso Viejo Cityhood 2000 launched a petition drive to put the question of cityhood to a community vote. On March 6, 2001, voters (more than 90 percent) overwhelmingly decided to make Aliso Viejo a city.