Hidden Valley Lake, California

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Hidden Valley Lake, California
Location within Lake County and California
Location within Lake County and California
Coordinates: 38°48′29″N 122°33′30″W / 38.80806°N 122.55833°W / 38.80806; -122.55833Coordinates: 38°48′29″N 122°33′30″W / 38.80806°N 122.55833°W / 38.80806; -122.55833
CountryUnited States
 • Total9.888 sq mi (25.609 km2)
 • Land9.734 sq mi (25.211 km2)
 • Water0.154 sq mi (0.398 km2)  1.55%
Elevation1,191 ft (363 m)
 • Total5,579
 • Density560/sq mi (220/km2)
Time zoneUTC-8 (Pacific)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP code
Area code707
FIPS code06-33549
GNIS feature IDs1766196, 2408382

Hidden Valley Lake is a census-designated place (CDP) and gated subdivision in Lake County, California, United States. The population was 5,579 at the 2010 census, up from 3,777 at the 2000 census. Today, it is a CID (Common Interest Development) known as Hidden Valley Lake Association (HVLA).


Hidden Valley Lake, CA, (HVL) was originated and developed by the USA Land Corp. from the late 1960s until 1972. During that time, a dam was constructed across Coyote Creek creating the 102 acre "Hidden Valley Lake." Also during that time several buildings were constructed - clubhouse, cart barn, tennis courts and campground - and the 18-Hole "Billy Bell" golf course was installed. Its original design was as a vacation/recreation retreat. From 1970-72, the Equestrian Center and Country Club (later, Community Center) were built. 3310 lots were laid out for homes. Another 695 larger lots were also laid out in a nearby area called "The Ranchos." In 1972, USA Land Corp. was bought by Boise Cascade. BC offered model vacation homes, regular homes and vacation rentals. BC promoted the leisure-time and recreational activities available at HVL throughout the Western USA.

By 1973, there were 85 homes built. Throughout the 1970s most property buyers were families who planned to eventually build vacation homes. They often made use of the campgrounds. Calpine Corp. began construction of a geothermal power plant several miles to the south. Their workers plus speculators and retirees began to buy lots and build homes in HVL. BC also built a large Marina at the southeast end of Clearlake (about 10 miles north of HVL). BC provided well financially for all the leisure/recreational activities in HVL and also put on low-cost activities, parties and meals for owners: including horse, bike, canoe and paddle-boat rentals. Annual assessments were $70 per year; collection was inconsistent. BC was losing money on developments like HVL and had suffered several class-action-suits. BC turned HVL over to the Hidden Valley Lake Association (HVLA) and its board of directors along with a $200,000 starter fund in 1974.

During 1974, HVLA sold the Marina at Clearlake. Lake County agreed to assume responsibility for the drainage easements but declined to take care of the roads within HVL. The Board realized assessments had to be raised in order to have funds to maintain amenities, roads, safety/security operations, etc. Assessments proved inadequate partly due to the insufficient amount and partly due to lax collection practices. Thus maintenance was often deferred and compromises were made based on "priorities determined by the prevailing, transitory interests of the Board…" (HVLA Compass Oct. 2007; p 7). For the remainder of the 70's and well into the 80's a majority of property owners did not live in HVL, either using it for vacations or holding the land for investment.

Beginning roughly in the early 1980s, an operational shift onto the Golf Operations occurred. The HVLA magazine, "Compass" stated in its Oct. 2007 issue, "…to better serve our golfers, and to facilitate nonresident use, the day to day operation of the bar and restaurant was moved to the Hartmann Road facility in 1980." Mulligan's Bar and the Greenview Restaurant then came into being. The existing water utility, Stone House Mutual Water Company, was transformed into a separate Community Services District (CSD) with its own Board of Directors. Additional sewer systems were constructed and roads were re-paved. Funds put toward safety and security varied depending upon Board "…perceptions of abuse to amenities and threats of vandalism from non-property owners." (HVLA "Compass", Oct. 2007, p. 14).

Events and conditions throughout the 1980s -

Late 1980s - Court receivership. Apparently related to a preceding period of "several cycles of growth, recession, internal turmoil and stagnation. Property values dropped; in some cases owners just gave their lots away." (HVLA Compass Oct. 2007; p. 14).

Assessments were increased reaching $84/yr. by 1988. In 1989, the Board attempted a 233% increase in assessments. This resulted in a lawsuit and a consequent lesser "special" assessment.

Awareness increased that HVLA was becoming too big and complex to run without outside help. Board began to hire paid-staff.

Throughout the late 1980s and through at least to 2004, the following statements from the HVLA "Compass" Aug. 2005 are descriptive:

"Very flawed budget process…"; "…some years only 70% were actually paying." (assessments); "…massive lay-offs (especially 1994) to meet payroll & expenses."; "Replacement Reserves were underfunded…"; "…operations borrowed from the Fund to cover expenses."; "Many lenders refusing loans in HVLA."; "Nearly 100 houses in lender foreclosures in 1996."; "Weak 'professional' managers…"; "…very little collection activities were completed."; " Parks turned to weed lands. Docks & piers disappeared. Maintenance very neglected. Roads deteriorated seriously. Fountains & ponds just holes."; " 3 other special assessments" (first in 1989); "BOD Recall suing each other."; "Approx. 1450 homes." (by 1996); "Approx. 1720 homes." (by 2002); "…rules, architectural code enforcement were ineffective."; "qualified audit" in 1996 due to use of ineffective accounting software.; and, "…restaurant was leased several years & that failed miserably."

Other events and conditions throughout the 1990s -

The Association was fiscally unable to provide services to "The Ranchos" area. Owners from that area severed their relationship with HVLA.

First professionally trained/certified General Manager, Jay Hutton, hired, 1992.

More young families began moving in, partly triggered by HVL's inexpensive housing and partly by the desirable amenities.

Three more "special" assessments. By 1999, assessments were $810/yr.

Coyote Valley School and Hardester's Market complex was developed, 1992-93.

Conflict had developed between Mr. Hutton and the Board, resulting in his leaving in 1994.

Sewer system and water treatment/reclamation plant were put in.

During the mid-1990s owners began requesting mergers of multiple-owned-properties while maintaining a single assessment. This created significant Board/Member conflict over the consequent fiscal issues and led to at least one lawsuit.

Since 1992 and to date (2017) HVLA has had five (5) other General Managers and five (5) Interim General Managers. Some of these GM's had professional credentials, some did not. In addition to Mr. Hutton, three other GM's left under questionable circumstances.

From 2000 to 2010:

Assessments rose from $855/yr. to $1,695/yr. Reported collection efforts on delinquent assessments were made repeatedly but overall delinquency rates remained high. No "Reserve Fund" was being built. Fiscal management was described as, "Hand to Mouth." More young families began moving into HVL. The "Compass" Aug. 2005, described the period 1996-2002 as:: "Only a very senior bank official, that had actually served as an advisor for the receivership & knew management would commit to a loan." (for debt incurred to repair roads and golf course irrigation).

Population-wise, HVL had about 1,960 residents in 1990. By 2000 it had grown to about 3,780. By 2010, to 5,600. About 800 new homes were built. It became a much more heterogeneous community socially and culturally - 27% under 18; 29% 19-45; 31% 46-65; 23% Non-White (by 2010). Having originally started as a "golf community" this was no longer the case. It has become an eclectic "family community". But, less than 15% of HVL residents use the golf course; less than 5% have memberships in the golf course. Nevertheless, the golf operation continued to be the primary focus of Association attention and funding.

"Improvements" were made during this period in overall Association functioning and facilities infrastructure, most notably: A new Administration Bldg. (2009–10); roads repaved, parks further developed (including beaches) and "updates" made to the Bylaws and CC&R's. Still problems abounded: political turmoil, overall mismanagement (particularly of the two the largest revenue producing amenities - golf course and food/beverage operations), badly under-funded reserves, ongoing unsuccessful struggles with delinquent assessments, ultra-conservative interpretation of governance laws, general apathy among the membership (low voter turn-out; trouble getting Committee members), lack of long-term planning, further deterioration of amenities, failure of the Board to act on at least 3 major "Community Plans" (Recreation, Equestrian Trail, Lake Management) as well as a Member Survey (2003), re-use of previously ineffective problem-solutions, ongoing complaints about Greenview food-quality and ambiance, problems in Board-Membership communication and problems with staff morale all continued.

Other significant events 2000-2010:

DNA Rock operation was ended, Oct. 2002.

Proposed "Coyote Creek Development" was fended-off, 2003.

First "Activities Coordinator" hired, 2004.

"SolarBees" were installed to help clean-up the Lake, 2004.

"The Ranchos" officially separated from HVLA, 2004.

New web site was put up, 2006.

IT specialist was hired, 2006.

Focus of "Facilities" shifted from Hartmann and the Community Center onto construction of a new Administration Bldg, April 2007.

Two or more lawsuits (unknown cause) costing the Association around $400,000 (2007).

New Admin. Bldg. was constructed 2008-09 amid issues such as awarding of the construction contract to the highest bidder (Access Design-Build, Inc. of Ukiah) and sub-contracts awarded to individuals closely connected to influential HVLA members. It opened Dec. 2009.

Member hand-book published (2004–05), but not since.

Letters to the editor (Compass 2003-04); but not since.

A process to welcome new members to the community was set-up, but fell into disuse within 1–2 years.

An HVLA "Mission Statement" (2007) was developed; but never pursued.

A Community Community Newspaper (The Hidden Valley Lake Times Star; around 2007) was briefly published.

All HVLA roads were resurfaced by J.B. Bostick Co. - cost $750,000 (2009)

Most significant events 2010–present (2017):

The legacy of HVLA management and governance from about 1992 to early 2015 has been one of fragmented processes and mixed results. It was not all bad, but it left the Community with a stream of significant dysfunction.

GM from 2010-14 encouraged and nurtured ineffective, destructive management practices; maintained Board ignorance of strategic planning, reserve studies and capital improvements; exacerbated already negative and impaired community relations; modeled an obstructionist communication-style; hired a law firm that further restricted HVLA members' rights (e.g., voting); and, hired an auditor with minimal HOA experience. During his tenure, there were many reports of employees' inappropriate behaviors, in-fighting and job dissatisfaction; and many complaints from Committees re Board/GM's unresponsiveness and/or blockage of recommendations.

As a result of several Board alterations between 2013-2015 (elections, recalls, new appointees), a shift in Board orientation began in April 2015. To date, this shift has resulted in a focus on and improvement in many aspects of HVLA functioning: Accounting/financial procedures, contracting procedures, personnel procedures, member voting rights, auditing and reserve studies, and the first ever professional consultation for the golf operations.

Still, this has left HVLA with multiple and critical unresolved issues:

*Can HVLA make its' "self-management" sufficiently more effective, despite its history of serious mismanagement under this governance model?

*Can HVLA sufficiently improve Board-Committee relations, despite the dismal history in that realm? Same for Board-Member relations.

*Can HVLA significantly decrease Golf and Food/Beverage Ops. losses, so that member dues can be used for other needs?

*Can HVLA effectively deal with the small-groups of members who want HVLA returned to its' glory-days as a golf-vacation venue?

*Can HVLA get its' reserves back to acceptable levels and also appropriately maintain all members amenities/services?

*Can HVLA bring its' fire and flood preparedness up to adequate levels, sooner than later?

*Can HVLA Board finally release the Election Committee Report of Feb. 2016?

*Can HVLA do all the above without further/additional increases in assessments?

Regarding the Community Services District (CSD):

In October 2014, The State Water Resources Control Board ordered the Hidden Valley Lake Community Services District to stop allowing new service connections to its water system due to concerns that, under current drought conditions, the district did not have enough water to meet future demands. The district, with about 2,500 connections, is a junior water rights holder in the Sacramento River and San Joaquin River watersheds.[3]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 9.9 square miles (26 km2), of which, 9.7 square miles (25 km2) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2) of it (1.55%) is water. In the west of the town, California State Route 29 runs through the town limits.


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[4]


The 2010 United States Census[5] reported that Hidden Valley Lake had a population of 5,579. The population density was 564.2 people per square mile (217.9/km²). The racial makeup of Hidden Valley Lake was 4,830 (86.6%) White, 63 (1.1%) African American, 80 (1.4%) Native American, 75 (1.3%) Asian, 12 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 326 (5.8%) from other races, and 193 (3.5%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 733 persons (13.1%).

The Census reported that 5,575 people (99.9% of the population) lived in households, 4 (0.1%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 0 (0%) were institutionalized.

There were 2,119 households, out of which 752 (35.5%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 1,291 (60.9%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 206 (9.7%) had a female householder with no husband present, 93 (4.4%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 155 (7.3%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 23 (1.1%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 388 households (18.3%) were made up of individuals and 138 (6.5%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63. There were 1,590 families (75.0% of all households); the average family size was 2.98.

The population was spread out with 1,400 people (25.1%) under the age of 18, 296 people (5.3%) aged 18 to 24, 1,413 people (25.3%) aged 25 to 44, 1,706 people (30.6%) aged 45 to 64, and 764 people (13.7%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41.2 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.8 males.

There were 2,597 housing units at an average density of 262.7 per square mile (101.4/km²), of which 1,687 (79.6%) were owner-occupied, and 432 (20.4%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 6.1%; the rental vacancy rate was 8.2%. 4,274 people (76.6% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 1,301 people (23.3%) lived in rental housing units.


As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 3,777 people, 1,411 households, and 1,100 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 347.5 people per square mile (134.2/km²). There were 1,595 housing units at an average density of 146.7 per square mile (56.7/km²). The ethnic or racial makeup of the CDP was 92.82% White, 0.71% Black or African American, 1.03% Native American, 0.74% Asian, 0.19% Pacific Islander, 1.77% from other races, and 2.73% from two or more races. 6.75% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 1,411 households out of which 35.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 67.2% were married couples living together, 7.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.0% were non-families. 16.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.67 and the average family size was 3.01.

In the CDP, the population was spread out with 28.0% under the age of 18, 4.2% from 18 to 24, 27.5% from 25 to 44, 24.5% from 45 to 64, and 15.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 102.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.6 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $48,262, and the median income for a family was $51,763. Males had a median income of $41,278 versus $27,813 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $19,526. About 4.1% of families and 7.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.5% of those under age 18 and 4.3% of those age 65 or over.


In the California State Legislature, Hidden Valley Lake is in the 2nd Senate District, represented by Democrat Mike McGuire, and in the 4th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Cecilia Aguiar-Curry.[7]

In the United States House of Representatives, Hidden Valley Lake is in California's 5th congressional district, represented by Democrat Mike Thompson.[8]

Hidden Valley Lake (aka - Hidden Valley Lake Association), as a CID or Homeowners Association, is a non-profit corporation under California law and is covered by the CA Corporations Code and the Davis-Stirling Act. The former covers all functioning related to non-profit corporations. The latter specifically covers homeowner associations in California. There is no single CA State agency charged with regulating HOA's, i.e., no State agency that is known to take an active role in addressing law violations within HOA's.


  1. ^ "2010 Census U.S. Gazetteer Files – Places – California". United States Census Bureau.
  2. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Hidden Valley Lake, California
  3. ^ Lindblom, John (October 28, 2014). "Temporary moratorium for new water service connections ordered in Hidden Valley Lake". Lake County News. Archived from the original on September 11, 2015.
  4. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  5. ^ "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA - Hidden Valley Lake CDP". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
  6. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  7. ^ "Statewide Database". UC Regents. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  8. ^ "California's 5th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved March 3, 2013.

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