Carlsbad is a seaside resort-town in the North County section of San Diego County, California. According to the state Department of Finance, the city had a total population of 90,271 in 2003. It is the most expensive coastal city in North County, San Diego.
Because of its desirable location, relatively low population density and high performing school districts, the city is seen to have a high quality of life. Land is also a premium, thus, real estate is rather expensive even for Southern California. The annual Forbes Magazine ranking of the “Most Expensive ZIP Codes” in the U.S ranked Carlsbad as one of the most expensive in the nation. In a recent article published in San Diego’s “Riviera” December issue, the magazine reported San Diego County’s priciest neighborhoods, stating that “Rancho Santa Fe is the most expensive with the average prices just over $2 million. La Jolla’s average is $1.4 million…and Carlsbad is just over $1 million.”
The city has drafted ordinances protecting sensitive wildlife habitat, one of the first such ordinances within the state of California. The city has also promised to protect a certain amount of land within city limits from development of any kind, along with spending significant funds to restore habitats destroyed by newer development projects.
The Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation was established as a non profit corporation in 1990 to help conserve, restore and enhance the environmental features of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon, marsh, wetlands and watershed area, to protect sensitive land through acquisition or other means and to promote balanced recreational and commercial uses consistent with assured future lagoon vitality. The Foundation serves as an advocate for the lagoon and is a strong supporter of public access, trails and recreational opportunities.
Nighttime in Carlsbad’s northeast and northwest quadrants
The northwestern quadrant is Carlsbad’s oldest region. The quadrant is located north of Palomar Airport Road and west of El Camino Real and is concentric with the ZIP code 92008. Though there are some newer developments, the area features many more established single family homes, and in some cases, apartments and condominiums. The fact that many areas in this quadrant existed many years ago is apparent by the fact that some streets (notably Highland Drive) lack sidewalks and/or street lighting. In the case of Highland Drive, however, the city has made the decision to omit improvements to preserve the street’s country-like feel.
Hosp Grove, a grove of trees relatively untouched by development and now designated by the city for recreational use, is located in the northwest quadrant, along with the Buena Vista and Agua Hedionda Lagoons. The Buena Vista Lagoon is one of three the subject of controversy. The Concerned Citizens of Carlsbad is currently floating a Petition to stop the city council from rezoning the fields into new homes and a state of the art City Hall complex.
Carlsbad Village, or downtown Carlsbad, is generally located along Carlsbad Village Drive (formerly “Elm Avenue”, the 1991 name-change prompting local consternation, a “Locals Call it Elm” bumper-sticker campaign, and later license plate holders reading “Locals Still Call it Elm”.) east of Carlsbad Boulevard (also Pacific Coast Highway or U.S. Route 101) and west of Interstate 5. It is currently in a process of ongoing redevelopment, and features many antique shops, clothing stores, and restaurants. Regular events in the village, which include a farmers market held on Saturday mornings 9am-1pm and Wednesdays from 2-5pm (see External Link below), and a marathon, draw many people from throughout the region to downtown Carlsbad. The Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce also host a bi-annual street fair, called the Carlsbad Village Street Faire, of the first Sunday in May and November. The Village Street Faire is the largest single day street faire in North America with almost 1,000 vendors and well over 120,000 people in attendance.
The Barrio was the first Carlsbad neighborhood, built in the 1920s. It is densely populated by Latinos and is the site of the city’s Centro de InformaciÃ³n, a Spanish division of the Carlsbad City Library.
Olde Carlsbad refers to the area south of the Buena Vista Lagoon, west of El Camino Real and north of Cannon Road. These were the original boundaries of the city of Carlsbad. The area features many historic buildings. It is perhaps the most socioeconomically diverse section of the city, where homes range from enormous mansions to modest, one story homes. Architectural styles in the area vary widely as well. A number of elementary schools are located within the area, as well as Carlsbad High School and the current site of Carlsbad Seaside Academy, Magnolia Elementary School. Carlsbad’s only historic museum, the Magee House, is located in this area, and it is the home of the Carlsbad Historical Society.
Terramar is located in Carlsbad, California. It is a small neighborhood community that is on the ocean. It has its own Association called the Terramar Association, with a set of rules. Terramar has the only private beach in San Diego County. The beach consists of a “Deck” that is elevated above the ocean. The deck is being remodeled to increase its capacity and so it conforms to the “Now”. There is a small pond right behind the neighborhood. As a result of the walking distance from the beach and close proximity to the shore, Terramar homes sell well into the double-digit millions.
The northeastern quadrant is located north of Palomar Airport Road and east of El Camino Real. With the exception of one shopping center, the area is almost exclusively residential. Because of the city’s increasing population, the area was recently assigned the ZIP code 92010 by the U.S. Postal Service. The quadrant has many condominiums and single family homes. Some of the units are quite established while others, particularly in Calavera Hills, are currently under construction.
Calavera Hills is one of many of Carlsbad’s planned communities located around the intersection of College Boulevard and Carlsbad Village Drive (the community is bordered on the north by the Oceanside-Carlsbad city boundary). The western portion (phase I) was constructed mostly in the 1980s and the eastern portion (phase II) is currently under construction. Calavera Hills features two elementary schools, one middle school, a very large community park, numerous pocket parks, trails, an artificial lake, and single family, attached, and apartment units. Calavera Hills is subdivided into neighborhoods, each of which are maintained by a homeowners association. Some, especially condominium developments, feature community pools. Calavera Hills Middle school is located in the area. Much of the community, especially around Calavera Lake, is designated open space. Numerous trails exist near Calavera Lake for public use. Because of strong opposition to the partial draining of the lake, the city is currently considering other alternatives for the removal of a concrete object that protrudes from the lake’s surface, which some consider to be an eyesore in an otherwise picturesque area.
Summerhouse is a residential area built in 2005 and bordered by College Boulevard to the west and the to Calavera Natural Preserve to the east. Many home feature views of the preserve, and cool ocean breezes in the summer create desirable weather conditions.
The Colony is an established residential neighborhood located just south of Calavera Hills community park. Homes in The Colony are greatly desired due to unique cottage style homes with shingle facades, large front and backyards and quaint street names (named after Scottish towns).
Tanglewood is a condominium complex located between Carlsbad Village Drive, El Camino Real and Avenida de Lousia. Homes, landscaping, and a community pool are maintained by a homeowners association. Although all units in the neighborhood are townhomes, all residents benefit from separate garage units.
Robertson Ranch is a proposed development bordered by Tamarack Avenue, College Boulevard, and El Camino Real. Development is anticipated through 2010. It will most likely be the site of three schools. Many Carlsbad residents are opposed to this development which will most likely bring severe congestion to the area. Preserve Calavera website
Sunny Creek is a smaller single family development centered along College Boulevard east of El Camino Real. A shopping center is proposed for the area, construction of which has been delayed numerous times. When completed, it will be the only shopping district in northeast Carlsbad outside of the Tri-City area. Among the residents the oppose construction are the original residents of Sunny Creek, who live in a somewhat rural area near Rancho Carlsbad.
The Summit (north) is a townhouse development currently under construction, located east of Marron Road and west of the unimproved Haymar Drive. One of its main purpose is to alleviate pressure to develop land on or near the Buena Vista Lagoon, which seen as highly undesirable to most residents.
The Summit (south) is a residential area built on a series of small hills, bordered by El Camino Real, Tamarack Avenue, and Carlsbad Village Drive. It is made up of several developments, including Tamarack Point, Falcon Hills, and Carlsbad Meadows, that were completed in the late 1990s.
The southeastern quadrant is located east of El Camino Real and south of Palomar Airport Road. It is Carlsbad’s newest quadrant, containing many master planned communities (MPC), most notably Bressi Ranch, the Villages of La Costa, which includes the completed MPC of La Costa Valley, the nearly completed La Costa Oaks, the half-completed La Costa Greens and La Costa Ridge (still in the grading phase of construction). The ZIP code of the southeast quadrant is 92009, and is one of San Diego’s most expensive ZIP codes. The area was recently named one of the 500 wealthiest ZIP codes in the United States by Forbes Magazine.
Bressi Ranch One of Carlsbad’s newest, and largest, Master Planned Communities, located inland about 4 miles, Bressi Ranch is less than 30 miles from downtown San Diego and about 6 miles from Carlsbad Village. Like the other master planned communities (La Costa Oaks, La Costa Greens, La Costa Ridge, Rancho Carrillo, La Costa Valley), Bressi Ranch prides itself on its walkability, allowing residents a comfortable sense of community and easy access to parks, schools and community center.
Formerly a working ranch of rolling hills and wetlands, there are about 200 acres of open space, easily accessed by walking trails. There are 8 parks that have been developed, of varying styles and offerings, to provide welcome havens for homeowners and their guests to enjoy the outdoors in a neighborhood-like environment.
Reminiscent of Southern plantation homes, these custom built properties start at $1.8 million and go to $2.2 million.
La Costa Greens is a new residential development built on the hillsides east of the La Costa Resort North Golf Course between the proposed Alga Norte Park and Alga Road. Many homes in the La Costa Greens have spectacular views of the ocean and the famous La Costa golf course. This upper-middle class neighborhood is anchored by The Presidio Club, which touts of providing a spa-like experience with a concierge on staff. The community amenities include a pool, spa, workout gym, tot lot and two tennis courts. The houses being built here are between 3,000 to 5,000 square feet large and the project is over halfway built out as of April 2006. With the exception of 24 houses in La Costa Greens, the community is served by the La Costa Meadows Elementary School, the newer San Elijo Hills Middle School and the refurbished San Marcos High School.
La Costa Oaks is the second in the Villages of La Costa and is located mostly east of Rancho Santa Fe Road at the end of La Costa Avenue. It’s an upscale master planned community (MPC) with home sizes of about 3,000 to 5,000 square feet that were built from 2003 to 2006.
La Costa Ridge is the final of the Villages of La Costa and is currently being graded. The top of a local mountain was shaved flat to enable construction of large ocean-view homes in this private gated community to be served by the La Costa Meadows Elementary School, the newer San Elijo Hills Middle School and the refurbished San Marcos High School.
La Costa Valley is a master planned community (MPC) that was built between 1998 and 2001 near Carlsbad’s border with Encinitas. The first of the Villages of La Costa planned and built by master developer Arbuckle Development. The builders included Kaufman and Broad Homes (later to become KB Home), Shea Homes, Standard Pacific Homes, Greystone Homes (later acquired by Lennar), K. Hovnanian and Centex Homes. The Valley Club is the centerpiece to La Costa Valley that was sold with the slogan, “Beverly Hills meets Mayberry”, and is home to mostly upper-middle class families. The Valley Club has social activities, a large swimming pool and two tennis courts. The El Camino Creek Elementary School is located in La Costa Valley. The middle school is the older Oakcrest located in central Encinitas and older students are served by the newer La Costa Canyon High School.
Rancho Carrillo is a community centered on a picturesque canyon surrounding the historic Leo Carrillo Ranch Park. Over half of the canyon and hillsides are dedicated as preserved open space and a year round stream flows through the canyon. Rancho Carrillo offers a balanced mix of about 1,500 residences from condominiums and townhouses to large estates. Rancho Carrillo was designed in the theme of ‘Old California’ to match the park and is densely landscaped and laced with walking trails. There is an active social activities calendar with clubs and events offered in all seasons. The development has the Carrillo Elementary School in the neighborhood and is part of the San Marcos Unified School District.
La Costa refers to both a residential community of Carlsbad and the world-class golf and tennis resort and spa that thrives at its center. The community is located primarily south of Alga Road, east of El Camino Real, north of Olivenhain Blvd. and west of the north-south portion of Rancho Santa Fe Blvd. The La Costa Resort and Spa consists of two 18-hole golf courses, resort hotel and condominium units, 19 tennis courts and related retail businesses. Dr. Deepak Chopra operates the Chopra Center located at the resort. La Costa the community is mostly residential, with shopping centers, upscale boutiques and fine dining restaurants. Because of overlapping district lines, schools within the community may be located in one of four school districts. La Costa Canyon High School serves residents of Encinitas, Rancho Santa Fe and other surrounding communities, along with the southernmost portion of Carlsbad. The popular San Elijo Middle School and San Marcos High School serve students on the north side of the golf course. Real estate in La Costa is priced well above the average for both California and San Diego County.
La Costa’s development began in 1965, when Irv Roston and a partner of the Desert Inn hotel in Las Vegas purchased 3,500 acres of the scenic area. A golf course was developed and homes began to be sold. The 90-room Rancho La Costa Inn was built to accommodate the visitors. Then, the Spa was added and ultimately, another 2,000 acres were purchased as the Inn grew in size. Sports Shinko, a Japanese company, bought the Resort in 1987. After years of decline, it was purchased in 2001 by KSL Resorts, a California resort hotel group, who totally revamped the La Costa Resort, spending in excess of $140 million.
Each February since 1999, La Costa Resort and Spa has hosted the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, one of the World Golf Championships events. The 2006 edition of the event was the last at La Costa. The Acura Classic is the largest professional women’s tennis tournament (WTA) in the world and is also held at La Costa.
* Total housing units: 14,489
* Population: 27,445
* Area: 3 mileÂ² (8 kmÂ²)
* Median age: 41.2 years
* Median family income: $104,850
* SFD Average Price: $910,371
* Zip code: 92009
Ponto is a single family and mobile home residential community. While the mobile homes are quite established, the homes located in the neighborhood are very new and some of the only new homes close to the ocean in the entire state (one of the few other areas with such housing is Newport Beach). A plan to develop a portion of the area is currently awaiting approval, although the plan is drawing opposition by concerned citizens. Among the new community types proposed for the area are live-work units, where a business owner is able to live one story above an establishment, eliminating the need for a commute. However, the proposed development directly abuts a protected wetland bird breeding ground. It is located near the city’s southern border with Encinitas, west of Carlsbad Boulevard.
Aviara is a resort community in the hills of southern Carlsbad, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Batiquitos Lagoon. The community has a total area of 1.6 milesÂ² and is just north of Encinitas and west of La Costa. Just outside of Aviara at El Camino Real lies a movie theater, restaurants, jewelry boutiques, a branch of the Carlsbad City library, U.S. Post Office, and several salons. Aviara is located at [show location on an interactive map] 30Â°3â€²20â€³N, 117Â°17â€²49â€³W (33.121990, -117.296811).
At the heart of the 1,000 acre Aviara community is the Four Seasons Aviara Resort, a 331-room, five-star hotel. Guests enjoy spectacular views, famous lush tropical grounds, a popular Lobby Bar, personal services, shops, a renovated spa area and a world-class golf course.
* Population: 5,050
* Area: 1.6 mileÂ² (4 kmÂ²)
* Median age: 42.8 years
* Median family income: $117,900
* Total housing units: 2,025
* SFD Average Price: $960,635
* Zip code: 92011