Sunset Cliffs – appropriate name for a beautiful neighborhood

People who live in Sunset Cliffs have to leave town if they want to shop for groceries, check out a library book, or mail a package at a post office. They don't even have their own ZIP code, sharing it with other communities.

But if you ask, most residents would probably say they'd rather be nowhere else.
It has to do with the water, and the cliffs the neighborhood was named for.

"I think the distinctive thing - what drew us here - is this incredibly beautiful ocean-land interface," said Cordelia "Dedi" Ridenour, who lives in one of the original homes built on Sunset Cliffs Boulevard, a winding two-lane road that hugs the picturesque ocean bluffs.

house at Sunset Cliffs
The Cliff Mansion at 1203 Sunset Cliffs Boulevard, also known as the Mills House, has been designated by the city as a historical landmark.

A quarter-century ago, San Diego turned that 18-acre stretch of bluffs and a 50-acre hillside on the south end into the Sunset Cliffs Natural Park.

On a typical day here you'll see surfers in the water, beachgoers among the tidepools, fishermen on the bluffs, and walkers, bicyclists and motorists cruising up and down the boulevard. Sometimes you can sight gray whales way offshore. In the evening, people stop and watch the sunset. They come from all over, not just Sunset Cliffs.

Surfer on the rocks
Surfing along ther reefs out past the the base of the cliffs is a popular activity for many residents. Finding a parking spot along Sunset Cliffs Natural Park is usually not a problem -- except when the surf picks up.

"It's a regional park - it's not a community park," Ridenour said. "It's meant to be used by the entire city."

About 5,500 people live in Sunset Cliffs, a part of the city of San Diego that's wedged between the Ocean Beach, Roseville/Fleet Ridge and Point Loma communities and the Pacific Ocean. That's about a thousand more residents than in the tiny city of Del Mar up the coast, for comparison.

Just inside the community's south border is Point Loma Nazarine University, a small, private Christian school with both undergraduate and graduate programs in liberal arts.

Nearly every housing unit in the neighborhood is a single-family detached home, and they're not cheap. The median price in the 92107 Zip code area, which includes Sunset Cliffs and Ocean Beach, was $1M in May, 2015 according to DataQuick. The luxury homes closest to the ocean can fetch $4 million or more.

Ridenour grew up in the 1920s-era, Spanish-style house she lives in now, and she said many of the neighbors from back then, or their offspring, are still around.

"A lot of people who live here now moved here after the war (World War II)," she said. "It's a very, very desirable area to move into, and it's stable."

Unstable cliffs photo
Signs warn beachgoers to beware of unstable ocean bluffs. View looks north along Sunset Cliffs Boulevard, toward Ocean Beach.

Sunset Cliffs will become an even nicer place to live in or visit in the near future. The city, using a $2.6 million grant from the state Coastal Conservancy, is planning to restore native habitat, build new trails, improve public access and install benches and other amenities on the 50-acre portion of the park.

Target date for completion of the project is 2013, according to Ann Swanson, chairwoman of the Sunset Cliffs Natural Park Council, which advises the City Council.

Meanwhile, a comprehensive study is examining drainage problems in the park. Giant boulders were dumped at the base of some of the ocean bluffs in 1980s to slow erosion, and signs warn beachgoers to stay back from the edges of the fragile cliffs.

Copyright TownBlip.com 2015


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Ocean Beach Elementary
4741 Santa Monica Ave.

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4895 Saratoga Ave.


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