The History of Hidden Valley Airpark
Hidden Valley Airpark is a residential airpark community with homes and hangars that look like they belong in a country club, but our golf carts get us to and from our hangars and neighbors not the first tee. The airpark had its beginnings in 1965 when a group of pilots and aviation enthusiasts decided to create an aviation community. The first location selected was near Lake Grapevine but a major new airport, which became Dallas/Fort Worth International, caused the FAA to reject their application. Later on, one of the original members of the group noticed an airplane taking off from a small, secluded grass strip near Denton, TX about 15 miles north of DFW airport. This spot met with the approval of the group and in 1967 and 162 acres of land was purchased. The land was at about 600 foot above sea level and is one of the highest points in Denton County next to the Corps of Engineers Garza Little Elm Reservoir which would become the 29,000-acre Lake Lewisville.
In 1967 the landing strip was grass and had been used by Squire Haskins for his aerial photography business. The property includes a 10 acre lake with many suitable home building sites around the lake and the strip. Hidden Valley Airpark Association was incorporated as a Texas non-profit by the charter members for the purpose of developing a residential airpark into a great place for airplanes and their owners to live together. Today that same goal is being met by the 88 members of the association.
A survey of the property was initiated and a plat dated May 5, 1967 was drawn for the proposed lots and approved at a May 21st, 1967 meeting. Fifty-four original lots were laid out, and a new grass runway and road system was proposed. Water system lines, originally operated and maintained by the corporation, along with various utility easements were established and sale of the lots ensued. Bob Foote, with his wife Ruth and family moved into the old cabin on the property and became the first residents of the airpark. In October the first house and hangar plans were approved and the initial home building began. Lots are still being sold today as well as new homes going up, in fact there are a few that have been rebuilt in the last few years. From the original 29 members of the association, one member still lives in their home at the airpark and another original member owns two lots. Today there are over 90 families living at Hidden Valley Airpark.
Orinignally the eastern most section of Hidden Valley Airpark lay within the Town of Shady Shores while the majority of the land was within unincorporated Denton County. In 1971 the Corporation and the Town of Shady Shores completed negotiations and became a part of the Town of Shady Shores. Part of the benefit of being in Shady Shores was the lower taxes rate than the much larger city of Denton. With Shady Shores being a small community of about 2,000, the Airpark is and has been well represented on the Shady Shores town council over the years.
Hidden Valley Airpark has grown from the original 162 acres and is into its fifth development phase. 72 acres were acquired in 1984; 24 acres in 1997, 41 acres in 2000 and 28 acres were acquired in 2008. Installation of an underground aviation fuel station was installed in 1985.
Hidden Valley Airpark Association now owns over 300 acres, of which about 110 acres is green space containing a 3,100-foot-long paved entrance road with woods on one side and a pasture on the other side.
In 1973 there were 14 families in the airpark and 11 years later there were 31 families as documented by an article from the October 11, 1984 edition of the Denton Record-Chronicle. Today we have a total of 130 residential lots, 91 families with completed homes and 2 homes under construction. There are about 25 lots available for purchase from either the association or a member.
Hidden Valley Airpark is about 50 years old, although about half of the existing homes were built in the last 20 years. The paved, lighted runway has been lengthened to 2600 feet with a 500 foot sod overrun on the South. The FAA designator is 5TX0.
Airplanes and cars share the same wide, paved, streets/taxiways, and the association also has a separate area where members can lease a hangar site and build their own hangar (or buy an existing one) if they do not want a hangar at their home site.
All of our residential lots are over one acre, with the average being about 1.2-acres. Our zoning ordinances require residences to have at least 2,000 square feet of living space, but most are larger. Our residents' homes range in value from about $300,000 to over $1,000,000 with the average home value of $625,000.
Each Hidden Valley Airpark Association member has access to approximately 175 acres of common property, including the runway, taxiways, streets and over 110 acres of green space, woods, pasture, and other open areas. The area surrounding the airpark from west-northwest to the northeast is all uninhabited Corps of Engineers property bordering 29,000-acre Lewisville Lake, an area that is also heavily wooded and used by many members for its hiking trails or horseback riding. Members are charged a modest monthly fee if they wish to keep a horse in Hidden Valley Airpark's 25-acre horse pasture. The Town of Shady Shores maintains the only free public boat ramp on the lake which is less than two miles away. The members also maintain a well groomed R/C flying field. There is plenty to do in the airpark including a couple of annual events, Halloween and Easter parties are attended by everyone.
Hidden Valley Airpark is a bit unique from other airparks. Many airpark communities are hard to find and located well away from metropolitan areas. Hidden Valley Airpark is about one mile east of Interstate Highway I-35E, a major interstate leading into the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. The nearest larger city is Denton which is about 4 miles north. We are about a 30 minute drive from downtown Dallas, Fort Worth or DFW International Airport, which is 15 nm due South. There is plenty to do in Denton as well as the rest of the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Denton is home to the University of North Texas and its 35,000 students as well as Texas Woman's University. Denton has a vibrant and charming downtown with great restaurants and night spots. A commuter rail line can take into the big city of Dallas to see the Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Stars or even to Fort Worth, but the car is king in Texas and from the airpark you are only a few minutes away from whatever you desire. Of course we have the Dallas Cowboys and the Texas Rangers as well as various minor league teams in the area.
Texas governments are funded primarily by sales and property tax and we have no state or local income tax. Our members pay monthly dues for maintaining our network of private paved roads, taxiways, runway, and other association expenses.
Most of our members have one or more aircraft housed in their hangars. We have many models of aircraft from several Cubs, Champs, Pitts, Christian Eagle, Citabrias, Lancairs, Glassaires, RV's, Skybolts, a Tailwind, a Stemme Motorglider, a couple Maule's and the usual assortment of Wichita products including Travellaires, Barons, a Stearman, Cessna 195, various Pipers, Cessna 310's, a JetProp, an MU-2, and a couple Twin-Comanche's.
In case the weather is bad, Denton Municipal Airport (KDTO) is 8 miles west-northwest of the airpark and has ILS, GPS and NDB approaches to its 6,000-foot runway.
A number of our members are aircraft builders. We have hosted fly-in's for several EAA Chapters, and those visitors toured a half-dozen member's construction projects including a 3/4-scale P-51, a Subaru-powered T-18, an Adventurer 4-place Amphibian, a Quickie 200, several Pitts, a restoration of a Cessna 195, a Staggerwing Beech project, an Aerosport SCAMP Biplane, a Glasair, a Lancair and probably others that I have forgotten. A Van's RV-7 project was recently completed in a member's hangar.
If you are ever in the area, stop by and knock on someone's door or get the name of one of the board members from the Hidden Valley Airpark website: http://hiddenvalleyairpark.org. We suggest you call before coming to make sure someone is here to host your visit. We will also be happy to show you around Hidden Valley Airpark or just stop and chat with any one of our members that you see out and about.