Stephen Colbert fans are familiar with his Better Know a District series in which he spotlights congressional districts and their representatives. In this spirit, we are proud to bring you the first installment in our own Better Know a Neighborhood, in which we will attempt to feature the unique personalities and features of San Diego’s diverse communities. Our series will be less comical Colbert Report and more Dragnet: Just the facts, ma’am. And, our logical springboard into the deep pool of the San Diego lifestyle is the community of Scripps Ranch, 92131. It is logical in that Steve and I have called Scripps Ranch home for the past 18 years. So take off your flip-flops (this is San Diego, after all) and come on by for some sushi and a fish taco.
As recounted on the Scripps Ranch community website:
Serendipity was at work when newspaperman E.W. Scripps came to California in 1890 to see his ailing sister, Annie (Julia Anne), in Alameda. Seeing that she was on the road to recovery, he boarded a steamship for a four-day visit to San Diego. He and his mentor, his beloved half-sister, Ellen Browning Scripps, purchased 400 acres of what is today Scripps Ranch for $5,000. Only 30 acres were to be E.W.’s, for his home and grounds; the rest would belong to Ellen. Eventually he acquired 2,100 acres, becoming a laughingstock for investing in the stony, treeless, waterless, hopeless acreage. Undaunted, he immediately started to build what he thought would be a “winter” home, to which he could escape during the cold months in Illinois.
When Steve and I moved to Scripps Ranch in the late 1980’s, our friends often asked why we would would move “all the way out there”. Urban sprawl has since resulted in Scripps seemingly moving on the map, becoming known as centrally located within San Diego County. Located an approximate 15 to 20 minute drive from beaches, downtown, and major employment and activity centers, this bedroom community is a popular destination for home buyers. One of the main attractions is the abundance of Eucalyptus trees, and folk lore has it that these trees were planted by Chauncy I. Jerabek, the gardener of E.W. Scripps, as a monument to free enterprise, suspecting that the wood would make fabulous railroad ties. Folklore also has it that these very trees in fact were unsuitable for the intended purpose, so that most remain today (yet many were destroyed or removed as a result of the devastating and nationally covered Cedar Fire of October, 2003).
Scripps Ranch (see map) is located north of Miramar Marine Corp Air Station of Top Gun fame and east of Interstate 15. San Diego is known for its rolling terrain with many canyons affording homeowners views; Scripps is no exception. Locals tend to separate Scripps into three general, geographic areas: South of Pomerado Road (which is, get this, located south of Pomerado Road), old or “classic” Scripps (which is generally located north of Pomerado Road and south of Spring Canyon Road), and the “Villages” to the north. The homes in the Villages were the new comers to Scripps Ranch. While designated in the City of San Diego General Plan as a distinct community, Miramar Ranch North, for planning purposes, this area was developed under the marketing name of Scripps Ranch Villages beginning in the 1990’s and soon was considered a part of Scripps Ranch, as the area shares the zip code. The Villages are unique in that the homes tend to be newer and most (but not all) of the homes are subject to Mello Roos assessment.
Scripps Ranch comprises roughly 12,000 homes, of which about two-thirds are detached, single-family properties. According to Neighboroo, the population of 31,000 boasts an average income of $109,000, approximately 40% of the residents are married-with-children, and the median age is 32.5 years. According to the Sandicor MLS, prices for resale homes ranged in 2006 from $235,000 for a one-bedroom condominium to $1,825,000 for a six-bedroom, 5599 square foot detached home. You can find many of the floor plans for the various Scripps Ranch neighborhoods here.
As a bedroom community, commercial services are generally located on the periphery of the community. In addition to two grocery stores, dining, shopping and services opportunities are abundant, and even include three Starbucks (big surprise).
Scripps Ranch is part of the San Diego Unified School District, and the schools are considered by many to be among the best in the district. Schools include four elementary schools, one middle school (6-8), and one high school. The middle school, Thurgood Marshall, will be moving to a new facility in Fall, 2007, while one of the elementary schools, Ellen Browning Scripps, will leave its temporary facility to take over on the former middle school site.
Located in the heart of Scripps Ranch is Miramar Lake, or as the City of San Diego likes to call it, Miramar Reservoir. Picnic tables, barbeques, and passive boating (fishing, row boats, paddle boats) are available, but the main attraction continues to be the five-mile trail around the lake, popular with joggers, bikers, rollerbladers and other outdoor enthusiasts. After the 9/11 attacks, the trail was closed for security reasons at the dam (the 4 mile mark), so that a complete loop is no longer possible. Residents continue to lobby for the reopening of the trail across the dam. Each 4th of July, the community holds a 10K run, at which time the loop is reopened just for this popular event.
The community boasts numerous neighborhood and community parks a Community Recreation Center. The local Scripps Ranch Swim and Racquet Club, a membership club, offers two facilities with aquatics, tennis, racquetball, fitness facilities, day care, family events and more. Saturdays, residents enjoy the Farmer’s Market held at EBS Elementary School, and the annual 4th of July Parade is so “dorky” it is charming.
So, welcome to Scripps Ranch. You can find real estate statistics here, updated twice a month. Next time, we will begin highlighting some of the individual housing developments within the community, and we eventually look forward to moving on to our neighboring zip codes.