The following information was derived from the original General Plan for the City of Santa Barbara.  I will add that I lived for several years on the Mesa and here is what I loved about it:  proximity to beaches (many ways to get there!), Shoreline Park for walking, picnicking, playground, restaurants, Lazy Acres Gourmet Grocery store, and the highly-sought Washington Elementary school.

Neighborhood Boundary – West Mesa Area

Area: approx. 344 acres
North: Cliff Drive and by existing development oriented toward Cliff Drive
South: the Pacific Ocean;
East: a line running along Meigs Road to the ocean
West: Arroyo Beach Park

Schools, Parks and Places of Interest

The West Mesa contains the Monroe Elementary School. The southern portion of Ellings Park which was acquired from the Jesuit property is currently County land. Douglas Family Preserve (formerly known as the Wilcox Property) is a recently designated park.

Neighborhood Profile

Most of the West Mesa neighborhood is shown in a density classification of five dwelling units per acre. Development here is quite similar to East Mesa and the discussion of single-family development in East Mesa is relevant here. The West Mesa contains most of the Mesa Shopping Center surrounded by some duplex and multiple-dwelling development.

Neighborhood Boundary  – East Mesa

Area: approx. 383 acres
North: the southern edge of the Mesa Hills
South: the ocean
East: Oceano Avenue
West: Meigs Road

Schools, Parks and Places of Interest

The East Mesa neighborhood contains the federal lighthouse, 1000 steps (access to the beach), Shoreline Park, La Mesa Park and the Washington Elementary School.

Santa Barbara Lighouse, Mesa

Neighborhood Profile

With the exception of the multifamily district in the vicinity of Oceano and Barranca Avenues, the East Mesa is uniformly developed with small-lot, single-family residences. The General Plan reflects this with a density classification of five dwelling units to the acre. Despite the predominant single-family development, there has been in the past pressure for rezoning to allow multifamily developments along Cliff Drive. Most of this area is now zoned R-2 and is developed with garden apartments and duplexes.

Shoreline Park

Shoreline Drive serves both as a necessary element of the circulation system and as a scenic drive. For many years the people of Santa Barbara have had the foresight to reserve the oceanfront for public use and local residents are now enjoying the benefits of such foresight.

The philosophy of preserving scenic and recreational areas for future generations should be continued and reinforced by efforts in this

Shoreline Park

generation, adding to our heritage and thus passing along greater resources to the future.

Neighborhood Boundary – Alta Mesa

Area: approx. 383 acres
North: the southern edge of the Mesa Hills
South: the ocean
East: Oceano Avenue
West: Meigs Road

Schools, Parks and Places of Interest

The East Mesa neighborhood contains the federal lighthouse, 1000 steps (access to the beach), Shoreline Park, La Mesa Park and the Washington Elementary School.

Neighborhood Profile – East Mesa

With the exception of the multifamily district in the vicinity of Oceano and Barranca Avenues, the East Mesa is uniformly developed with small-lot, single-family residences. Despite the predominant single-family development, there has been in the past pressure for rezoning to allow multifamily developments along Cliff Drive.  Most of this area is now zoned R-2 and is developed with garden apartments and duplexes.

Alta Mesa

Area: approx. 651 acres
North: by the base of the steep hillside
South: the existing development oriented to Cliff Drive
East: Loma Alta Drive on the east
West: by the City limits

Schools, Parks and Places of Interest

Parks in the area include Hilda Ray, Escondido, La Coronilla, and the Honda Valley and Thornbury properties. Two city reservoirs are in the neighborhood. The McKinley Elementary School is located in the Alta Mesa area.

Neighborhood Profile

The topography in this entire area varies from rolling to steep. It is almost entirely zoned E-1 permitting lot sizes of 15,000 square feet. When minimum lot sizes were smaller, the development trend had been to standard subdivisions in which lots too small for the topography were created. Improved regulations effecting grading and lot size alters this situation so that appropriate development will take place on the remaining vacant land.

Most of the land has been developed or committed to public use. The steep hills along the northern border have been classified as major hillside open spaces by the Open Space Element and have been zoned A-1 and A-2. Still more restrictive zoning will probably be appropriate for these areas.

 

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