There are more than 32,000 homeowners associations in California, a third of them lying within Los Angeles County. Still, Hidden Hills is unique.
Anyone who has driven through our gates can attest to this fact. The hustle and bustle of modern Southern California life is magically transformed into a tranquil, bucolic scene from long ago. Cars are stopped in the roadway to permit horseback riders to cross. Children are selling lemonade on the street corners, and people are actually stopping to buy it. Neighbors stop to chat with each other.
We call this the "Hidden Hills Feeling" and we consider it to be one of our greatest assets. It was given to us by the founding father of Hidden Hills, A.E. Hansen, a man whose amazing vision has withstood the test of time. Rather than set out a lengthy list of specific instructions about how Hidden Hills was to be governed and developed in the future, instructions that would undoubtedly become obsolete over time, Mr. Hansen established a solid framework of governance that has served the leaders of this community for over 50 years. One of the most unique and important features contained in our CC&Rs is that they establish the Architectural Committee and define its power and authority. In most Community Associations, the Board of Directors is the ultimate authority and all committees, including Architectural Committees, report to and serve at the discretion of the Board. You can read more about this in the CC&Rs. The point here is that if you are considering buying in Hidden Hills, it is important that you understand that, unlike other planned communities, virtually every aspect of your property will be subject to the jurisdiction of the Architectural Committee from items such as where you can place your home on a lot (if you're doing new construction) all the way to what color you paint your house.
It is also essential that new buyers are aware that they cannot simply look to the published Architectural Standards to determine the feasibility of a project. While the Association hires paid consultants to ensure all projects conform to the Standards, the primary job of the Architectural Committee is to make aesthetic decisions about the project using criteria that by its nature is not definable. It is therefore crucial that anyone planning to make any modifications whatsoever to a property in Hidden Hills consult the Architectural Committee before deciding to buy the property. Some people feel that they have a right to develop their properties in any manner they see fit; others have been advised by real-estate professionals who may not have experience buying and selling in Hidden Hills that they can build whatever they want. These people resent being told by the Architectural Committee what they can and cannot do. However, when you buy in Hidden Hills you give up some of the freedoms those outside the gates have in exchange for the assurance that your neighbor also gives up some of those same freedoms. In other words, you give up your right to paint your house purple, but you gain the knowledge that none of your neighbors are going to be painting their houses purple either. Or putting cars up on blocks in the front yard. Its a trade-off that you agree to when you choose Hidden Hills. Its a trade-off that makes life in Hidden Hills one in 32,000.
For a full list of the Architectural Standards, download the PDF.