In 1942, a group of neighbors organized the Countryside Improvement Association.  It gradually became involved in questions of land use.  In 1955, in an unprecedented action, owners of about 3,000 acres (half of the Bull Valley area at the time) voluntarily put their land into 3-acre zoning, the highest residential classification then offered by the County.  This single decision established the future character of the community.

In 1960, money was raised from residents by subscription, to pay for a land use study and professional planning advice.  They created the Eastern McHenry County Plan Association (EMCPA), addressing the common problems of four townships.  That Association’s recommendation in a report of July 25, 1961 was that a large part of the Bull Valley area be zoned for a residential/estate use of a minimum of 5-acre tracts, based on the following premise

Unlike the traditional concept of a community where the most intense use is at the center of the area and becomes more open as the distance from the center increases, the EMCPA area has at its center, a very attractive rolling, wooded area currently developed in low density, open estate type residential and farm development (and) included in this center portion are two very broad, scenic valleys which should be retained for non-intensive development”

When the County established a Planning Commission in 1963, the EMCPA dissolved and turned its studies over to the County Planning Commission.

As the County began to consider land use policy, Bull Valley neighbors continued to oppose development that threatened farms, forested hills, and wetlands.  Through their association, they bore the costs of legal representation at endless zoning hearings, until it became obvious that private efforts could not win the fight to save the land.

In 1977, the Countryside Improvement Association was reorganized as the Bull Valley Association, which initiated and campaigned for a referendum on incorporation.  By state law, a new municipality could have no fewer than 200 voters in an area of two square miles hence the peculiar shape and boundaries of the Village, which had to reach out for scattered households.  The referendum passed at an election held on July 23rd of that year, giving residents for the first time, the authority to implement their long-standing purposes.  The Village of Bull Valley was empowered to formulate its own land use philosophy, plan its own growth, and pass laws to regulate development.
What is Bull Valley?

The natural systems of the Village and its planning area serve, more than any other attribute, to define the character of the countryside.  Residents and visitors alike become enamored with the sweeping valley vistas, the profusion of wildflowers, and the certainty of seeing mammals and a multitude of birds, the heavy woodlands bordering narrow and twisting roads.  A desire to protect the richness of this landscape has been the primary reason behind the long established desire by area residents to maintain significant parcels of open space, as well as low density and low impact land uses.

Surrounded by established municipalities, the Village defines its role as a green area separating those cities.  Its unique glacial topography, extensive forestation and other natural endowments have esthetic value and regional importance.  The preservation of open space is fundamental to environmental and ecological stability and of vital importance in an expanding metropolitan area.

Bull Valley differs from its neighbors because of its large lots and sizable areas of open space that contribute to the rural atmosphere and are an integral part of the everyday living environment.  Where most communities develop dense business districts and town centers with neighborhoods and larger lots fanning out from that center, Bull Valley reverses this model, retaining large parcels of land centrally in the core of the village, many in dedicated conservation easements and private and public nature preserves, with smaller lot development occurring at the edges of the village.

To preserve the character of the Village, the basic policy of 5-acre residential zoning has been and must continue to be strictly maintained; some parcels smaller than 5 acres are already within the village boundaries.  Most of these parcels were annexed into the village as part of multiple large parcel annexations.

The character of the residential streets in Bull Valley is an important element of the character of the entire Village.  On all village roads, the visual image that has been created is that of country living.

Consistent with the rural character of the village, Bull Valley encourages a dark at night atmosphere with minimal street lighting; minimal air, water and noise pollution; minimal disruption of the landscape by utility lines, strict signing and advertising regulations including a ban on billboards, and preservation of a country feeling to village roads.