Rancho Santa Fe is a census-designated place (CDP) in San Diego County, California, United States and a bedroom community of San Diego . The population was 3,252 at the 2000 census. At $245,631, it is one of the highest income communities in the United States with at least 1,000 households. The CDP is primarily all residential with one shopping avenue as well as several private schools, and single family residential areas situated on uncommonly large lots.
Rancho Santa Fe has many strict architectural design codes as can be exemplified by several attempts from local residents to improve upon or build new residencies. A more recent example occurred when James D. Jameson, a wealthy businessman who has resided in Rancho since the '80s, applied for multiple permits for approval concerning his new residential compound. He was denied until he complied with the various strict codes concerning the architectural style and landscaping of his property. The town has an extremely stringent code which demands a certain Spanish "Hacienda" or Mediterranean style for new construction permits. Many streets outside of the downtown area are lined with landscaping; on side streets the landscaping of individual properties provides ambient decor. Very few homes are visible from the road. Forbes reported Rancho Santa Fe as having the third most expensive ZIP code in the United States, and most expensive in California, with a median home sale price of $2,585,000. Some homes in ZIP code 92067 but not within the CDP are valued at more than the median home-value within the Master Planned Community that makes up the official CDP, and many people who live within the 92067 ZIP code cite their community as Rancho Santa Fe even though they do not live within the strict boundaries of the Master Planned Community. The United States Postal Service also calls the entire 92067 and entire 92091 ZIP codes "Rancho Santa Fe".
The downtown is centered around the intersection of Linea del Cielo/Paseo Delicias and La Granada/Via de Santa Fe. It is the site of offices of financial firms, restaurants, and small stores. A library and a school are also located here.
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,252 people, 1,204 households, and 947 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 183.8/km² (476.2/mi²). There were 1,339 housing units at an average density of 75.7/km² (196.1/mi²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 93.33% White, 0.46% African American, 0.15% Native American, 2.77% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 2.15% from other races, and 1.08% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.32% of the population.
There were 1,204 households out of which 33.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 72.4% were married couples living together, 4.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.3% were non-families. 17.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.70 and the average family size was 3.01.
In the CDP the population was spread out with 25.9% under the age of 18, 2.9% from 18 to 24, 17.7% from 25 to 44, 33.0% from 45 to 64, and 20.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 47 years. For every 100 females there were 95.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.7 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was in excess of $200,000, as is the median income for a family. Males had a median income of over $100,000 versus $86,933 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $113,132. 3.5% of the population and 2.0% of families were below the poverty line. None under the age of 18 and 5.5% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.
In the state legislature Rancho Santa Fe is located in the 38th Senate District, represented by Republican Mark Wyland, and in the 74th Assembly District, represented by Republican Martin Garrick. Federally, Rancho Santa Fe is located in California's 50th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +3 -- that is, in recent presidential elections its voters have voted Republican somewhat more than the national average—and is represented by Republican Brian Bilbray.
Schools located within the Rancho Santa Fe School District:
In Rancho Santa Fe near gated community of Fairbanks Ranch (Solana Beach School District)
Rancho Santa Fe has its origins as Rancho San Dieguito, a Mexican land grant made during 1836–1845 to Juan María Osuna (the first mayor or alcalde of the San Diego area). In 1906 it was sold to the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Company, which renamed it after the second transcontinental railroad to reach California. The Railway planted extensive groves of eucalyptus trees in the hope of having a near-inexhaustible supply of raw material for the railway ties they needed to expand in the Western American market. Eucalyptus wood, however, proved too soft, splitting when the spikes were hammered into it. One Sydney Nelson, about whom little else is known, helped finance the purchase of the ten square mile plot, as well as the construction of a golf course (today the main course of the Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club). Nelson also drew up rudimentary community plans.
Rancho Santa Fe gained popularity between World War I and World War II, finding special focus following the construction of the Del Mar Racetrack. Bing Crosby is credited as an "early settler", hosting annual clambakes on the golf course at the Club. The present-day luxury tract home development "The Crosby Estates" stands on the site of his former estate.
In addition to many notable Hollywood figures (Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford) who played important roles in the founding and popularization of the resort town, Rancho Santa Fe has been the scene for a good deal of San Diego County's high social dramas. For example, the former mayor of neighboring Del Mar, Nancy Hoover, left her husband and home in 1983 and moved in with Rancho resident J. David Dominelli, who proceeded to defraud dozens of locals in foreign currency scams. In 1992, the family of alleged CIA operative Ian Stuart Spiro were found shot to death inside their Covenant home; Spiro was found behind the wheel of his SUV in a canyon within the Anza-Borego Desert a few days later, having died of cyanide poisoning. The case was declared a murder-suicide, but circumstances, as well as documented evidence show a potentially high chance of foul play. In March 1997, 39 members of the Heaven's Gate cult, whose leaders preached that suicide would allow them to leave their bodily "containers" and enter an alien spacecraft hidden behind Comet Hale-Bopp, committed mass suicide in a house at 18241 Colina Norte. Due to the publicity surrounding the case, the street is now called Paseo Victoria.
Rancho Sante Fe was chosen to host the equestrian events during the 1984 Summer Olympics.
Rancho Santa Fe is in the 50th congressional district. Their representative, Randy Duke Cunningham, resigned from the House on November 28, 2005 after pleading guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud, wire fraud, and tax evasion for underreporting his income in 2004. Cunningham's corruption first came to light when he bought his Rancho Santa Fe house largely with the proceeds of the sale of his Del Mar home for an inflated price. He was replaced by Brian Bilbray in the 2006 elections, who beat Democrat Francine Busby.
The public library in Rancho Santa Fe is a branch of the San Diego County Library system, and is open to all California residents. The Rancho Santa Fe Library Guild owns the building and land that house the Rancho Santa Fe Library, as well as providing the staff for the children's room.