Bull Valley is a village in McHenry County, Illinois, United States. The population was 1,077 at the 2010 census. Surrounded by the suburban sprawl of Crystal Lake, Woodstock, and McHenry, the village prides itself in its rural, low-density character.
McHenry County has gently rolling, glaciated terrain. Some of the County's larger hills border the rural area of East Central McHenry County between Crystal Lake, McHenry, and Woodstock. This area has long been called "Bull Valley." McHenry County was one of the fastest-growing counties in the U.S. each decade from 1920 to 2000. Illinois law allows county government to rezone property to allow dense housing subdivisions without regard to the desires of existing residents, unless that property is located near a city or village.
In 1942, a group of neighbors organized the Countryside Improvement Association. It gradually became involved in questions of land use, and 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 would establish 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. The Eastern McHenry County Plan Association (EMCPA) was then formed to address 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.