Aliso Viejo is characterized by rolling hillsides and valley terrain boasting picturesque views of mountains, streams, lush trails, pristine parks and city lights.
Originally part of the 22,000 acre Moulton Ranch, the Moulton family took title in the 1890's to land originally granted to Juan Avila by the Mexican government in 1842. In 1976, Mission Viejo Company purchased the last 6,600 acres for a new planned community that is now part of the City of Aliso Viejo. The first residential units were offered in March of 1982 and the first residents arrived in November of the same year.
The City of Aliso Viejo's master plan, approved by the County of Orange in 1979, laid the foundation for the innovative development of a total community covering almost ten square miles. Meeting the broad range needs of the business community and home buyers, the master plan provides for 36 percent of the land to be devoted to residential neighborhoods, 51 percent to parks, recreation, schools, and community facilities, and 13 percent to business, office and retail uses. Aliso Viejo strikes a balance between employment generation and residential population.
In February of 1995, a Self-Governance Subcommittee of the Governmental Affairs committee of the Aliso Viejo Community Association (AVCA) began pushing to make Aliso Viejo a city. AVCA is the first community-wide property owners' association of its kind in California, operating in many ways like a city government, with the authority and ability to provide municipal services funded through residential and commercial property assessments.
Aliso Viejo became Orange County 's 34th city on July 1, 2001. The first planned community in Orange County, it was targeted to middle and upper-middle income homebuyers. Aliso Viejo had only 7,600 residents in 1990. Developers were building homes, condos and apartments so fast that there were waiting lists and lotteries held for singles and couples anxious to be a part of the community. By 2000, the population expanded by 32,000 residents, making it the top city in population growth in Orange County. Designed to make it possible to live, work and play in the same community, Aliso Viejo, today continues to grow and prosper.
Aliso Viejo encompasses about 6 square miles and is situated at the southern end of the county. The community includes a balance of attractive residential neighborhoods, parks, recreation, award-winning schools and community facilities as well as abundant business, office and retail. the city population is just over 45,000 people. All residents live within 2.5 miles of the Aliso Viejo Town Center, the focal point of the City. This "downtown" includes over 800,000 square feet of retail shops and stores, restaurants and medical offices. The City is also home to a Jack Nicklaus designed Golf Course and Soka University, a 100-acre private four year liberal arts and graduate institution which opened in the Fall of 2001.
The City also enjoys access to the Orange County trail system with more than 30 miles of interconnecting trails suitable for hiking, equestrians and mountain bikes. Residents enjoy the added benefit of trails that connect to Laguna Beach, Dana Point and the Santa Ana mountains.
Aliso Viejo is conveniently located less than 5 miles from the Pacific Ocean; less than 9 miles from the historic Mission San Juan Capistrano and less than 25 miles from the infamous Disneyland. International air travel is just an hour away; while Orange County's local domestic airport is less than 15 minutes away. And, of course, the 73 Toll Road is literally at Aliso Viejo's doorstep.