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Old 10-17-2017, 10:48 PM
 
14 posts, read 10,351 times
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Our family will be moving to San Diego at the end of next June. My husband will be working in Chula Vista primarily, less often in La Mesa, and some in El Centro (but El Centro doesn't really factor in for us since the commute will be terrible from anywhere and they put him up in a hotel those days).

We both grew up in San Diego and are looking at the Mission Hills/Hillcrest/North Park/South Park/University Heights areas to be close to our family as well as easy access to freeways for an easy(ish) commute.

We are looking for a safe (ie like if you went for a short walk during the day and happen to not lock your door you wouldn't panic) neighborhood with lots of families, close proximity to a park, neighborhood block parties, yard sales and maybe close to a few eateries or stores.

1) Are there neighborhoods you would add to that list? We are willing to look beyond that area. Bay Park? La Mesa? Are there parts of Pt. Loma that wouldn't be a terrible commute? We just don't really want to go North.

2) I'm leaning toward North Park/South Park (having a hard time figuring out distinction?) and would like to know whether there are specific streets and areas that fit our description better than others? Areas to avoid?

3) Same as #2 for University Heights

4) Part of why I'm drawn to the NP/SP/UH areas are the IB elementary schools in the area. We are particularly impressed with McKinley program but would be interested to hear experiences people have had there or at Jefferson or Birney or Grant. I will be submitting a Choice application but have been told it might be pointless given how popular they are and the fact my daughter will be entering 1st grade with fewer choice spots.

5) Are there charter schools we should be considering? Anyone have good experience with Museum school?

6) We are hoping to buy but also willing to rent in an area to get into a school we want and wait a year to buy when we have more time. If we aren't moving until June, when do we need to be looking for rentals in those areas?
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Old 10-18-2017, 12:17 AM
 
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What's your budget for either renting a home or buying a home?

If I was in your position and my husband was going to mainly be working in Chula Vista, before I looked anywhere else, I'd first take a close look at Chula Vista east of the 805. Great schools in that area, nice family friendly area, newer homes, and the easiest commute for your husband. Don't under-estimate the importance of an easy commute in San Diego County. That area is MUCH more like you're describing when you say you want a neighborhood with lots of families, block parties, and not having to worry if you forget to lock your door. Bonita, right next to that area, might also fit the bill, although it's an older area.

If that didn't appeal, I'd take a look at La Mesa next. The part of La Mesa North of the 8 are more family friendly than the areas south of the 8, although there are some nice areas south of the 8 too (especially around Mount Helix). There are some very good schools in both areas. South of the 8 (close to the area known as La Mesa Village) which has now arguably developed a bit of North Park "hip" vibe, and is attracting couples who used to live in North Park/University Heights but now have families.

Another area you might look into is Rancho San Diego, which is just east of La Mesa but still a very easy commute to Chula Vista. There are some great schools in RSD and it's a very family friendly area as well.

This is just me, but if I was looking for the things you described, places like North Park, South Park, University Heights, and even Mission Hills would *not* be on the top of my list for several reasons.

The first is schools. The elementary schools in that area have never had a reputation for being particularly strong. Some of the schools (like McKineley) have improved and SD Unified is working to improve others by adding programs like IB and STEAM-focus, but they still pale compared to schools in other, more suburban areas. The real problem though, isn't the elementary schools, but what happens when your daughter gets to High School. There really aren't a lot of good choices in the mid-city area for high school.

Yes, you can look at charter schools but be aware that the more popular charter schools within the SD Unified School District in that area work on a lottery admissions system. So, you have zero control over whether your child/children might actually get into the charter schools in that area (like the museum school) you might prefer. That said, if I lived in South Park, and wanted to go the charter school route for elementary school, the excellent Albert Einstein Academy http://www.aeaces.org/ charter right in South Park would be a the top of my list (again, they work on a lottery system).

If you decide to go the charter school route in SD Unified, make sure you meet the exact deadlines and requirements to get into the lotteries, and then hope for the best. The same goes for school choice. Also keep in mind that you'll be responsible for providing transportation to a school outside of your neighborhood.

The second reason these areas would not be high on my list for a family is that housing prices (both rent and buying) will be significantly higher there than Chula Vista, La Mesa (or Rancho San Diego). Simply put: you'll get much more for your money in Chula Vista (again, east of the 805 is my recommendation), La Mesa, or Rancho San Diego. If you have the budget for these areas, that may not be an issue, of course.

Third, just my personal opinion (your mileage may vary) but North Park and University Heights are not my idea of a "family friendly" area for various reasons. There just aren't a ton of families living there and it's not the type of area where you're going to feel OK with letting your kids ride bikes or leave your doors unlocked. South Park and Mission Hills are better, but again, not packed with families with elementary school aged kids and the schools still need close consideration.

Again, your mileage may vary, but with young kids, given what you're describing are your priorities, I'd be looking at more family friendly suburban areas like Chula Vista (east of the 805), Bonita (right next to Chula Vista), La Mesa (especially north of the 8), and Rancho San Diego, among others, if nothing else, just to take the second guessing about schools out of the equation.

But, this is all just what I would do. My opinion doesn't really matter. It's your family, and your decision, so I'm sure you'll figure out what's best for your family.

Good luck with your move!

(P.S. Feel free to send me a private message if you have any questions about the South Bay (where Chula Vista is) or East County (where La Mesa is). I've lived in both areas and know them well.

Last edited by RosieSD; 10-18-2017 at 01:28 AM..
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Old 10-18-2017, 01:02 AM
 
7,446 posts, read 4,809,932 times
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P.S. South Park and North Park are usually considered to be divided by Juniper Street.

In North Park, you'll probably want to avoid being too close to both University Blvd. and El Cajon Blvd. Heading south towards South Park, the neighborhoods seem nicer. Also know where the boundaries with City Heights are. I've seen rentals advertised as "North Park" that are really in City Heights, and you probably don't want that area with kids.

Golden Hill is roughly the area southeast of South Park -- it's wedged roughly between Ash and the 94. A lot of time realtors will try to spin this as part of South Park, but it isn't as desirable.

Normal Heights is another area you might want to check out. It is the area wedged in between the 805 and 15, east of University Heights and west of Kensington. The nicer more family friendly section is North of Adams Avenue.

Kensington - a very upscale area - is east of Normal Heights from the 15. Some people think of it only as the area north of Adams there, but there are blocks to the south that are very nice as well. There are some families with young kids in that area, so if your budget can manage it, I'd take a look.

In University Heights, North of Adams is also nicer than south.

Mission Hills is pretty nice all around. I'm not aware of areas to avoid there, although your husband will probably hit traffic going south on the 5 in the morning from there.

You may want to check crime data for the areas around addresses you're considering. Sometimes a few blocks can make a big difference in this part of the city. Crimemapping.com is good for that. Try entering the address where you currently live first, so you have something for comparison. And, set the time limit for six months; the default setting only shows a week of data.

Last edited by RosieSD; 10-18-2017 at 01:37 AM..
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Old 10-18-2017, 05:03 PM
 
1,069 posts, read 801,892 times
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Be advised of Ghetto Bird if you're going to be living in the mid-city area. It's a major pest problem for that part of SD.
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Old 10-18-2017, 06:53 PM
 
Location: Talmadge, San Diego, CA
13,527 posts, read 26,040,908 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GSR13 View Post
Be advised of Ghetto Bird if you're going to be living in the mid-city area. It's a major pest problem for that part of SD.
You get used to them, and after a while they're not even noticed anymore.
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Old 10-18-2017, 07:00 PM
 
1,069 posts, read 801,892 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moved View Post
You get used to them, and after a while they're not even noticed anymore.
This is true for most people, but if you are sensitive to low-frequency noises you really don't. Lol
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Old 10-18-2017, 09:28 PM
 
7,446 posts, read 4,809,932 times
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In those areas, a bigger issue for a family with kids might be Homeless Bird.
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Old 10-18-2017, 10:46 PM
 
Location: Talmadge, San Diego, CA
13,527 posts, read 26,040,908 times
Reputation: 8266
Quote:
Originally Posted by GSR13 View Post
This is true for most people, but if you are sensitive to low-frequency noises you really don't. Lol
I lived in City Heights for six years, and after a couple of weeks, I didn't even notice them.
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Old 10-18-2017, 10:47 PM
 
Location: Talmadge, San Diego, CA
13,527 posts, read 26,040,908 times
Reputation: 8266
Quote:
Originally Posted by RosieSD View Post
In those areas, a bigger issue for a family with kids might be Homeless Bird.
This is true.
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Old 10-20-2017, 07:09 PM
 
1,069 posts, read 801,892 times
Reputation: 1493
Quote:
Originally Posted by RosieSD View Post
In those areas, a bigger issue for a family with kids might be Homeless Bird.
What about the Booger Bird? I hear they come in groups of 4 these days
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