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  1. #1
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    Is Thousand Oaks right for me??

    Thinking of moving to Thousand Oaks, CA area for a job and besides the great biking I am wondering if its the right place for me and my family. We have 3 kids under 5 and currently live in the suburbs North of NYC and honestly we are kind of tired of the suburban thing.

    We would love to live in a community that is relatively close to where I work, no more than 30 minutes. We would like to live somewhere that is close (walk or short drive) to coffee shops, bookstores, and other hang outs. It would be nice to have a university near by if we wanted to take classes. A park nearby would be nice for the kids. Is there anywhere around the T.O. area that has some of these features or is it mostly just rich suburbia? Also is it possible to get into a 3 bedroom for under $2000/mo? It doesn't have to be super nice just super convenient.

  2. #2
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    T.O. Has all of that except maybe the $2000 house bit, you can also look into other nearby cities, Moorpark or Simi Valley, maybe also Newbury Park. In my opinion, you should be happy, I live in Simi and have also lived in Moorpark, local riding is good, if you do move locally, I'll gladly show you around. Chuck

  3. #3
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    NYC vs. CA?

    Lots of the same issues with inflated taxes and prices.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by XRC800
    Thinking of moving to Thousand Oaks, CA area for a job and besides the great biking I am wondering if its the right place for me and my family. We have 3 kids under 5 and currently live in the suburbs North of NYC and honestly we are kind of tired of the suburban thing.

    We would love to live in a community that is relatively close to where I work, no more than 30 minutes. We would like to live somewhere that is close (walk or short drive) to coffee shops, bookstores, and other hang outs. It would be nice to have a university near by if we wanted to take classes. A park nearby would be nice for the kids. Is there anywhere around the T.O. area that has some of these features or is it mostly just rich suburbia? Also is it possible to get into a 3 bedroom for under $2000/mo? It doesn't have to be super nice just super convenient.
    I haven't ever lived there, but my impression from driving through on the freeway pretty frequently is that it is pretty suburban. Until the 1980s, it was far enough out of the LA sprawl it still looked rural from the freeway.

    NO idea about current property values, but it never struck me as rich suburbia - more like the rural edge where folks lived for larger lots, fewer neighbors.

    Ventura is a little north, more coastal. There's a state university near there. Not sure about the TO area, but there's probably a community college nearby.

  5. #5
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    just looking a bit at surrounding areas like oxnard, camarillo, moorpark, and simi. Could you rank these for me in terms of:

    commute to TO
    cost of living
    quality of life (culture, schools, stuff to do)

    it looked like oxnard had some pretty affordable units in that new development but I am concerned about the commute time. simi and moorpark look pretty convenient but ive been reading that it can be very hot.

  6. #6
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    Nice but still suburban.

    TO is nice. I still would call it suburban though. But to me everything around LA area is suburban. There is good riding nearby and a bunch of parks. CLU is in TO (California Lutheran U). Lots of parks, to ride in or otherwise. Shopping up the wazoo.. you name it. Simi Valley might have more reasonable rent/housing prices but nothing is exactly cheap around these parts.

    Its warmer than NYC area which you may or may not like (I grew up in NY state and do love the seasons and snow) so your mileage may vary.

    Brian
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    a couple things to consider; the west valley is hot in the summer. Daytime temps in the high 90s, triple digits often. I think it would be best described as semi-rural/suburban. Most of the area was horse properties before development and is still a mix of the two. You won't find main streets with a lot of walking (this is pretty rare in Los Angeles anywhere). That said, it's a good area for kids. Lots of green space, good schools (just make sure whatever school district you move into isn't los angeles unified, LAUSD), bike paths etc. My guess is that there's probably good real estate or rental deals to be had as it's still a buyer's market. When things recover prices will quickly rise.

    link here with more info http://www.toaks.org/living/default.asp

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by XRC800
    just looking a bit at surrounding areas like oxnard, camarillo, moorpark, and simi. Could you rank these for me in terms of:

    commute to TO
    cost of living
    quality of life (culture, schools, stuff to do)

    it looked like oxnard had some pretty affordable units in that new development but I am concerned about the commute time. simi and moorpark look pretty convenient but ive been reading that it can be very hot.
    Can't help you with commute times. I try to travel through off peak.

    Climate wise, the coastal bench - Oxnard, Camarillo, Ventura, have a much cooler climate than TO, Moorpark, Simi Valley. It's much drier than the east coast - rain comes November through March, summer humidity inland around 30%, coastal more, with morning fog along the coast in the summer.

    The horse property aspect of Thousand Oaks was not upscale; it was more blue collar / country in its flavor.
    Oxnard used to be a pretty rough place. It seems to be booming now.

  9. #9
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    You wont regret it!Nice area,lots of shopping/coffee plazas,ocean pretty close,YEAR ROUND RIDING!The greater Los Angeles area is a great place to raise a family,Disneyland,lots of parks,museums and some great people.I would not wait a day longer! WEATHER,WEATHER,WEATHER!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. #10
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    PM me for more detailed honest info if you want

    I have worked in Thousand Oaks for 10 years, lived in Camarillo for even longer, and have raised/raising 4 kids here so I can relate to your concerns.

    What company?

    In my opinion there is very good local biking year round and in fact, the trail "local" to where I work (where I try to ride at lunch when I can - I keep a bike in my office 24/7) is rideable the day after a rain (on the rare occassion it rains) the soil is so great.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by FoShizzle
    PM me for more detailed honest info if you want

    I have worked in Thousand Oaks for 10 years, lived in Camarillo for even longer, and have raised/raising 4 kids here so I can relate to your concerns.
    Believe it! When Fo speaks it's a PRO Review.

    BTW, nobody walks in LA.


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    TO scores a solid 7 out of 10, I think

    For uber convenience, live near your job. I ride to and from work, both off-road and off-dirt, with my shortest commute being 8 paved miles and the longest commute 5+ hours with 4,000+ feet of climbing and over 4 hours spent on fireroads and singletrack. Yes, TO has that kind of riding variety. It also has (generally) good schools, low crime, little culture (Canyon Club FTW!), far too much shopping, and a good library and decent sports programs for the kids. Simi Valley also has low crime and is more affordable than TO, but the schools aren't quite as highly rated. You'll get used to the temperatures, but the afternoon sea breeze hits Newbury Park and eastern TO long before it reaches Simi Valley. Agoura and Calabasas also have good schools, and they're close enough to TO to enjoy the same riding and cultural resources. Don't live east of Calabasas, it's hot and smoggy and you're in LAUSD schools, and don't live in Oxnard as they've got the highest crime rate in the area. Check out venturacountytrails.org for some of the local riding. Good luck in your housing hunt!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by XRC800
    just looking a bit at surrounding areas like oxnard, camarillo, moorpark, and simi. Could you rank these for me in terms of:

    commute to TO
    cost of living
    quality of life (culture, schools, stuff to do)

    it looked like oxnard had some pretty affordable units in that new development but I am concerned about the commute time. simi and moorpark look pretty convenient but ive been reading that it can be very hot.
    I'd personally cross Oxnard off the list. While there are nice areas to Oxnard, there are plenty of areas that are a bit lower on the socio-economic ladder.

    Camarillo is quite nice and it's only about 15 minutes to T.O. depending on where you work. Weekend traffic may be tough at times on the 101 due to all the people going to Ventura/Santa Barbara or returning.

    Moorpark is okay as well and it has grown a ton in the last 10 years. it's also about 15 minutes to T.O. There's a community college in Moorpark.

    Simi Valley is okay but I never really liked it when I lived there. It's older although there certainly are plenty of newer homes there. It's laid out in a grid and maybe that's part of what I didn't like about out. It's also much warmer in Simi Valley than in Moorpark or T.O. Like upwards of 10 degrees in the summer.

    Oxnard, Ventura, and Moorpark all have Junior colleges. T.O. has Cal. Lutheran (private school so not cheap). The nearest public Universities are going to be Cal State Northridge in the San fernando Valley, Sal State Channel Islands in Camarillo (pertty new so it's not really that big or established yet, and it's on the grounds of what used to be Camarillo State Hospital (psychiatric hospital), and UC Santa Barbara.

    I don't know what pricing is as I've been away for too long but Moorpark, Simi Valley, and Camarillo should all be a bit cheaper than T.O. T.O. is part of the Conejo Valley which includes Westlake Village, Newbury Park, Agoura Hills, and has pockets of very, very wealthy areas.

    No matter where you live, there's no public transportation worth a crap and you won't be able to just walk to the store.

    T.O. has the most riding in and around the area. Anywhere else will have some riding but not the number of options you have in T.O.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mouse jockey
    Believe it! When Fo speaks it's a PRO Review.

    BTW, nobody walks in LA.

    yep no one walks in LA....weather is great, quality of schools is real good,
    the trick is ENJOYING YOUR LIFE EACH DAY, don't waste them away wishing for better days

  15. #15
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    I would agree with Yeti-Rider and ScottR1. Moved here, Newbury Park, from NorCal a year ago for a job promotion. Newbury is excellent if you have kids. Great schools and my family loves the area. I start my rides at my house and can ride to Malibu beach and other trails all day long. Well, not quite but trails are close by and if you get bored other trails are just a drive away (Ojai, Santa Barbara, Simi Valley and others I have not yet ridden). I love the weather which can get a bit warm but similar to where we used to live, Morgan Hill, CA.

    I do definitely miss the Bay Area especially Henry Coe State Park but in terms of riding everything is here and the public schools are much better. Great sport programs and numerous nearby schools/university options. People seem a bit happier, more polite, and freindlier but may just be me. Services are all close by.

    If you move out here let me know and I can show you the trails and I am sure others would be happy to show you around.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevesbike
    a couple things to consider; the west valley is hot in the summer. Daytime temps in the high 90s, triple digits often.
    I worked in T.O. for 15 years. Thousand Oaks is not comparable to the west valley even though it's a twenty minute or so drive. IMO, T.O. has one of the best climates in the area. Daytime temps are much more comfortable than the SFV, but a little warmer than down on the coastal plain (Camarillo, Ventura, Oxnard).

    As for QoL and culture, it's a good place to raise a family relative to other choices in the greater LA area, Culture? That's a subjective term and I wouldn't say the area is 'rich' that way, but there are not any areas that 'have it all' (great MTB, schools, Uni nearby, good shopping, not too crowded with 3bdr houses for $2K/month).

    List and weight your priorities and it will make this process easier.

    All things said, T.O. is a pretty nice place to reside if you can afford it and you work there too.

  17. #17
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    I lived in Madison Wisconsin, met my soon to be wife, and married. She is from TO. I was always lead to believe not to live in socal, it will fall into the ocean, then you die. So what my wife, and I did is to check out TO, in the summer, and in my winters, mainly in January. After a one year of checking it out, I am the one that said we need to move here. You can only imagine how happy that made my wife feel. We have been here since 2001, two children, four, and six. I ride all the time when I can, and send messages back to Wisconsin of my bike rides, or going to the ocean, beaches, and climbs. I would never move back. I love it here. Good luck. It is not where you are but what is in your heart.

  18. #18
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    The $2k/mo thing is going to be a stretch but TO unlike many places in SoCal has great public schools. Totally suburban though.

  19. #19
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    I grew up partly in Ventura County. Here's my take:

    TO is nice. Clean, upscale, great riding nearby.
    Newbury Park next door is same, maybe a little lower socio-economic, but barely noticeable.
    Moorpark has old part and newer part. So-so.
    Simi is okay, but less desirable.
    Avoid Oxnard like the plague. Camarillo has some nice sections.
    Good luck. Overall, life is good up there. Not cheap anywhere unless you move into a really old section of Moorpark or Simi. But if you do that, why move in the first place?
    If not biking, then what?

  20. #20
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    I've lived in the Newbury Park area (It's actually part of the City) of Thousand Oaks for almost 20 years and can say it's a great place to raise a family. The schools are all good with many being excellent. Here's a link to the CVUSD:

    http://www.conejo.k12.ca.us/

    There a many great parks and other rec options through out the city.

    http://www.crpd.org/

    While not on the level of Durango or Bend, the biking here is awsome. Point Magu St Park has a 9 mi fire road from Newbury Park to the Beach and over 50 mi of interconecting trails. There are lots of other options close by as well.

    http://venturacountytrails.org/

    Not sure what rents are like here, but if you have any equity for a down payment you could most likely find a home for $2000/mo mortgage.

  21. #21
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    I think we have made our decision, TO it is! thanks for all the help, It looks like the TO area would be the best place to live out of all our options, in terms of commute and schools. affordability may be the key. I Don't like the idea of commuting up that grade from Camarillo or Oxnard. Simi/moorpark may be an option if we cant find something in TO, but it sounds like the climate would be brutal. Would love to be able to bike to where I will work in Newbury Park.

    Where are some of the more affordable townhome communities in the TO, Westlake, Newbury Park area?

    Also, I heard the traffic coming in from Simi is pretty jammed, is that still true?

    Also if I were to buy what would I expect to pay in taxes? say for a 300 or 400K townhome.

    Thanks.

  22. #22
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    TO is outside the superstressed areas.
    What are you looking for in terms of room/baths?
    http://guests.themls.com/?tab=search

  23. #23
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    Been living here for 11 years. I like it but sometimes I yearn for a more bohemian atmosphere. Anyway, the mountain biking is tolerable. Not too technical but quite a bit near by. Trails stay dry pretty much the entire year (except for today..)

    Real Estate is on the high side but if you are a buyer in todays market you could do OK. Culture is non-existent unless you consider church and Little league culture. Plenty of bookstores and coffee houses. The thing I miss is the night life. Pretty dead around here. Can't even find a decent jazz club on the weekends.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Is Thousand Oaks right for me??-unsorted-041.jpg  

    Last edited by il2mb; 12-19-2009 at 10:21 PM.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by XRC800
    ... Would love to be able to bike to where I will work in Newbury Park.
    ...
    The commute on a bike is an easy one from TO to Newbury Park. I used to do it from Chatsworth through Simi to Newbury Park. Now I am in Simi but no longer have the commute. The Commute from TO has no big climbs and there are bike paths all over. It can be a bit nerving during rush hour but if you learn the side streets it makes for a more pleasant ride and only adds a few minutes to the ride.

  25. #25
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    If you live in So Cal, you and anyone over the age of 16 pretty much needs a car to go anywhere. Native Californians are an Endangered species here.

    Crunch some numbers on rentals, assume the owner wants to make 5% ROI on their property, after property taxes and expenses, with property taxes being 1.25% and $2000 per month rent is probably only available in the more depressed areas of TO, areas like Tortilla Flats, etc. There's a few mobile home parks too, one off of Ventu Park Road, on the south side of the 101.

    Generally speaking, the largest employer in Ventura County is AmGen. They are in 1000 Oaks, and some folks drive a long ways to work there. Traffic on the 101 and 23 from Moorpark (locals say it spells Kraproom backwards) during work commuter hours is a joke, it's more like a parking lot.

    I've been living in the West San Fernando Valley and Conejo Valley areas since 1963. It was pretty nice then, it's nothing but urban sprawl of Los Angeles and growth since then. I really miss the way it was in the mid 70's through the late 1980's. I think the population of Thousand Oaks is now at 250,000, or more?


    Some other stats... Unemployment was 12.5% for October, 2009.
    Last edited by Boyonadyke; 12-19-2009 at 07:26 AM.

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