In 1957, when San Diego annexed the Otay Mesa area, there were less than a 1,000 residents who were probably outnumbered by the area's rabbit population. The name means "wide and level place" or "brushy place." a fitting description in the early days. By the 1960's residential development had increased dramatically. Otay Mesa was established as a community in 1985 with the creation of the Otay Mesa Port of Entry. The Otay Mesa/Nestor Community Plan was adopted in 1979 and updated in 1997.
Over 57 percent of the planning area is covered with residential land uses--17,000 units approximately. Twenty percent of the area is reserved for schools, parks, transit and other public facilities. Commercial and industrial uses comprise about seven percent of the land uses. Agricultural and vacant land make up the final 15 percent.
The Otay and Tijuana rivers form the northern and southern borders of the area. The Otay Valley Regional Park, a joint effort of Chula Vista, San Diego and San Diego County, will link Otay Lakes to San Diego Bay. This area will provide recreational and educational opportunities for visitors and residents.
Otay Mesa is located on a ridge overlooking the Pacific Ocean and offers views of San Diego and the Coronado Islands. Residents are a short drive from South Bay beaches and Baja California. Residents benefit from the burgeoning industrial and manufacturing development of the area. The Otay Mesa Higher Education Project scheduled to open in 2004 will make higher education available to residents of the area.
The recent opening of the Entry Port for round the clock operations has made border crossing for private vehicles and pedestrians a more user-friendly experience.