BEDROOM COMMUNITY, located inland from Oceanside and Carlsbad. Mix of old and new. Built on hills and mesas. Many view homes. Fair amount of open space. Country feeling. Population 94,048.
Children attend schools of the Vista Unified School District. Scores bounce all over but many schools are scoring well above the 50th percentile. One elementary specializes in math and science, another in visual and performing arts. Rancho Buena Vista High band was invited to march and play in the 2003 Rose Parade, an honor. Many schools try for this event, few are accepted.
After several tries, Vista district in 2001 passed $140 million bond to build and renovate schools. Two elementary schools were opened in 2003, relieving crowding at other schools and allowing the district to scrap a year-round schedule disliked by many parents. The schedule now runs the traditional late August or September to June. Vista hopes to build eight more schools in this decade but the construction schedule has been dragging.
Two homicides in 2003, four in 2002, three in 2001, six in 2000, one in 1999, three in 1998, two in 1997, seven in 1996, eight in 1995, five in 1994. The counts for previous years are six, eight, six, seven, five, seven, six.
Vista started growing in the late 1940s and 1950s when it erected about 3,500 units. In the 1960s, it built about 4,100 units and in the 1970s about 6,700 units. These three decades account for about half the units found in the city (census 2000). In 1963, the town incorporated as a city and brought planning under local control and tighter control.
In the 1980s, Vista cut loose, 10,500 housing units, and in the 1990s, it cut back 4,500 units.
When you shop for homes in Vista, your choices will run across the styles of four decades. The old will favor the 3-bedroom, 2-bath; the new, often, four bedrooms, at least 2.5 baths and, in many, walk-in closets. Many of the older streets lack sidewalks, which gives Vista a country flavor, accentuated in some sections by ranchettes, greenhouses and horse setups. The mesas add to the country feeling as they discourage development in the ravines and on the steeper slopes.
The state in 2004 counted 30,544 housing units, of which 15,345 were single-family detached, 2,029 single attached, 11,041 multiples and 2,129 mobile homes. Owner-occupied units exceed rentals 54 percent to 46.
Vista is a town with tucked-away neighborhoods, one of them a country club subdivision, Shadowridge. Just outside city limits, some people have built mansions in the hills. Custom jobs. Great views.
About a dozen parks, some large. Boys and Girls Club. Golf. Little theater. Beaches, boating, fishing close by. Also nearby, two community colleges and a state university. Library. Usual activities: Little League, soccer, football, etc. Softball is popular for men and women; about 100 teams are fielded each year. City expanded community center and renovated a senior center.
For the unusual: a gas- and steam-engine museum, and herb farm, and orchid gardens. And a swim center that includes water slides and a pool that makes waves for surfers.
Local shopping plaza and stores. Wal-Mart. City has two business parks comprising more than 1,200 acres.
Local jobs mean local commute. The north county, with Camp Pendleton, provides many jobs, and it's close enough to Orange County to tap into its jobs.
If you have to drive to downtown San Diego, it's a long 45 miles. Commute rail to San Diego can be picked up at Oceanside and Carlsbad. Some residents commute to jobs in Orange County.
Chamber of commerce (760) 726-1122. Miscellaneous:
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