Laguna Hills is a city in south Orange County, California, United States. Its name refers to its proximity to Laguna Canyon and Laguna Beach. While small to medium sized businesses form the backbone of the economy of Laguna Hills and family-owned establishments have been a major part of the community since the 1990’s, the City is open to new retail and restaurant development to help serve local residents.
Laguna Hills is built on one of the major land grants developed during the rancho era. After Mexico’s independence from Spain in 1821, individuals who had friends in authority or had served in the government, were given largeparcels of land for cattle grazing. Don Avila was granted the 13,000-acre Rancho Niguel on which Laguna Hills is located.
In 1894, Lewis Moulton purchased Rancho Niguel from Don Avila and increased the original grant to 22,000 acres. Moulton and his partner, Jean Daguerre, used the ranch to raise cattle and sheep. The Moulton Ranch was eventually subdivided in the early 1960s, and part of the division became today’s Laguna Hills.
On December 20, 1991, Laguna Hills officially became a City. Subsequent annexations have included the North Laguna Hills (1996) and the “Westside Annexation” (2000) areas. The latter included 149 acres of residential land, including the Aliso Viejo Community Association’s Sheep Hills Park.