The Tierrasanta Community Council
Spanish for "holy land," is a community within the city of San Diego, California. The symbol of Tierrasanta is an encircled Conquistador cross, similar to the Montserrat Cross of Barcelona, Spain, though it holds no religious meaning. The community is referred to as "The Island in the Hills" by locals and on welcome signs.
The community has a branch library, jogging/biking trails, and several baseball and soccer teams. Music falling under the categories of jazz and instrumental concert band is quite prominent in addition to the numerous physical sports teams. The Tierra Times, a community service newspaper, has been published since 1971, and is delivered to all residents 13 times per year.
The Tierrasanta History
putting the community in perspective
Tierrasanta was originally part of the Mission San Diego de Alcalá ranch, which was active during the late 18th and 19th centuries. The U.S. military purchased the land in 1941 as Camp Elliott, a Marine Corps training facility. The Marines moved out in 1944 and the land was transferred to the Navy. It was deactivated in 1946. In 1961, the U.S. Government sold the area that is now Tierrasanta and a portion of neighboring Mission Trails Regional Park to the City of San Diego. In the following year, the Elliott Community Plan was issued to serve as a roadmap for development going forward, and in 1971 Tierrasanta was founded. The current Tierrasanta community plan was issued in 1982, and included both the currently developed area and much of what is now Mission Trails Regional Park. By 1982 approximately one-half of the private residential area had been developed, with the area called Tierrasanta Norte, in the northeastern part of town, being one of the locations still to be developed. Tierrasanta has been almost fully built out since the early 1990s, and in 2010 had a population of 30,443 (ZIP code 92124). Some 2,300 homes grouped in the southwest portion of town are part of the Murphy Canyon military housing complex. Tierrasanta was one of the first master planned communities in San Diego.
Because of the area's history as a military training base, some military debris including unexploded ordnance remained in the area when it was developed, in spite of multiple cleanup efforts by different branches of the services. In 1983 two 8-year-old Tierrasanta boys were killed after discovering unexploded ordnance in a canyon near their home. The Navy performed surface clearance operations in 1984 and 1985. Between 1990 and 1995 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers removed several tons of ordnance and debris under its FUDS (Formerly Used Defense Sites) program. The Corps continues to monitor the area.
In October 2003, Tierrasanta, among other communities in San Diego, was affected by what was known as "Firestorm 2003." This was a conglomeration of the Cedar Fire and numerous other wildfires that converged on Southern California. The residents of Tierrasanta were forced to evacuate. Nearly a dozen homes were lost to the blaze. Shortly after, in 2004, the Tierrasanta Community Emergency Response Team (T-CERT) was created for rapid local response to natural disasters. A similar scare swept through Tierrasanta in the fall of 2007, though residents were not required to evacuate.