It is bordered by Burbank in the east, Shadow Hills on the north, Panorama City in the west, Pacoima to the northwest, and North Hollywood in the south. The district is served by the Golden State and Hollywood freeways. Major thoroughfares include San Fernando Road, Laurel Canyon, Roscoe Boulevards, Vineland Avenue, Sheldon Street, Glenoaks Boulevard and Sunland Boulevard.
Most of the stone, gravel, and sand used in construction in Los Angeles County between the 1920s and the 1970s came from quarries in Sun Valley. Although these are mostly closed (with many of them having become landfill pits), Sun Valley is still predominantly industrial, although it has some 1960s-vintage residential districts. As is the case with most of the eastern San Fernando Valley, the area's population is largely working-class and Latino.
In 1874 Senator Charles Maclay (for whom Maclay Street in San Fernando is named) acquired 56,000 acres (230 km2) of land across the San Fernando Valley. The area extended from Sunland Blvd., all the way west to the Chatsworth Hills. East of Sunland was Rancho San Rafael, a large land grant to Jose Maria Verdugo by the Spanish Crown. By 1876 the Southern Pacific Railroad was constructed through the eastern San Fernando Valley, linking Southern and Northern California.
Around the 1880s, Sun Valley was originally known as Roberts, which was the name of a general store - and the only business in the area. At that time the area was classified as one of the five healthiest places in the United States to live (before smog) and with the increased accessibility of the railroad, parcels of land in the area were being sold off to families coming to the area. The population of the Greater Los Angeles area at the time was about 200,000.
In 1896 Roberts changed its name to Roscoe. There is speculation that the name for the community came from a railroad employee by the name of Roscoe, who was killed in a train wreck during a train robbery near Sunland Blvd. and San Fernando Road. There are some spurious reports in later years that is was named after famous actor, Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, after he had made movies on location in the area, however Roscoe was already the name of the community before motion pictures were in widespread use. By 1905 there were seven families living in Roscoe. In (or around) 1915 the first gas pump on Route 99 (San Fernando Road/the main route between Glendale and Bakersfield) was installed at Sunland Blvd. and San Fernando Road by Alex Ratner. The Ratners were a new family in town and have remained active and supportive members of the community ever since. Ratner Street is named for this family. Adom Ratner-Stauber, involved in real estate development and property management in the area, is the great-grandson of Alex. The change to the current name of Sun Valley was made in 1948 by residents in a movement spearheaded by the Chamber of Commerce. Vestiges of the former name remain in the name of Roscoe Elementary School and the telephone exchange 76x-xxxx (ROscoe x-xxx).
The A. Louis Forsch family, relatives of Mrs. Alex Ratner, arrived soon after the Ratners and within a short time were the owners/operators of Roscoe Hardware. Being run by son Jack, and grandsons Gary and Glenn, this was probably one of the longest continuously running businesses in Sun Valley until its closure around 2003.
In 2009, the Los Angeles Times's "Mapping L.A." project supplied these Sun Valley neighborhood statistics: population: 75,848; median household income: $51,290.
The Consulate-General of the Dominican Republic in the County of Los Angeles is located in Suite 204 at 9001 Laurel Canyon Boulevard.
The United States Postal Service Sun Valley Post Office is located at 10946 Ratner Street.
City Of Sun Valley is zoned to schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Two middle schools, Sun Valley Middle School and Byrd Middle School, both in Sun Valley, serve the area.
John H. Francis Polytechnic High School in Sun Valley serves much of Sun Valley, although in 2009 much of the 9th, 10th and some of the 11th grade students were moved to the recently renovated Sun Valley High School, while East Valley High School in North Hollywood serves other portions of Sun Valley.
Robert H. Lewis Continuation High School is located on the campus of Francis Polytechnic.
County Of Los Angeles Public Library operates the Sun Valley Branch.