Beer mapping Sorrento Valley

"It's not like I have to pick which community's football team I need to support."

The city's new neighborhood signs extend Sorrento Valley east to Camino de Santa Fe.
  • The city's new neighborhood signs extend Sorrento Valley east to Camino de Santa Fe.

In September, Sorrento Valley got new neighborhood signs from the city. Three signs mark the western Sorrento border along the 805 freeway. The fourth designates a northeastern border, on Calle Cristobal, just east of Camino Santa Fe.

Thing is, several breweries often reported as Mira Mesa breweries are actually west of Camino Santa Fe. If that's the border, these are actually Sorrento Valley breweries, and there are no breweries in Mira Mesa.

That includes Green Flash. Back in 2011, the onetime Vista brewery moved to a substantially bigger brewhouse on Mira Mesa Boulevard. Given the street address, both Green Flash and beer publications have dubbed it a Mira Mesa brewery. "An oversight, maybe," says a representative of Green Flash, noting it has no impact on doing business. "It doesn’t make a difference for any reason that we know of!"

A city map shows borders of both the Mira Mesa community planning area and neighborhood boundaries for Sorrento Valley and Miramar.

A city map shows borders of both the Mira Mesa community planning area and neighborhood boundaries for Sorrento Valley and Miramar.

Sorrento Valley's Town Council website includes Green Flash on its list of neighborhood breweries. Town council president Julia Schriber points out that neighborhood boundaries are loosely determined by public perception; however, "There is a policy in the City of San Diego that the police determines the boundaries of the neighborhoods." Sure enough, the police map shows Camino Santa Fe as the borderline.

That boundary extends south to Miramar Road, which also technically puts Rough Draft Brewing on the Sorrento Valley side. It's also listed on the Sorrento Valley website, along with known Sorrento breweries New English and Karl Strauss, plus Miramar's Saint Archer. The site hasn't been updated to add the recently opened Longship Brewery, located just two blocks south of Green Flash.

Rough Draft president Jeff Silver was amused to discover his brewery technically resides in Sorrento Valley, but also notes it makes no difference, business-wise. "I would still consider [Rough Draft] in Miramar," he says, joking, "It's not like I have to pick which community's football team I need to support."

Meanwhile, Saint Archer does officially remain within the western border of Miramar, though the boundaries are no less murky at that neighborhood's east end. Vista's Barrel Harbor Brewing has plans to open a tasting room at 8990 Miramar Road in October, and owner Tim St. Martin notes the new tasting room has a Mira Mesa zip code. However, the police map shows everything south of Carroll Canyon Road as Miramar. So Intergalactic Brewing, also sometimes reported as a Mira Mesa brewery, is in Miramar, as are all the breweries located on Miralani Drive — though just barely.

Schriber explains that Sorrento Valley, Mira Mesa and Miramar all fall within the general Mira Mesa planning area, leading to confusion and contention in recent community meetings.

Mira Mesa town council president Ted Brengel contends the confusion stems from people living in the west-of-Camino-Santa-Fe Lopez Ridge. He says they claim Sorrento Valley, "to distance the portion of the community in which they live from the demographically undesirable rest of Mira Mesa." He calls that sub-neighborhood Sorrento Mesa, and adds "I consider Green Flash a Mira Mesa brewery along with all the others that are within the boundaries of the Mira Mesa Community Plan."

So, depending which map they follow, breweries in both Beeramar and the sneakily active Sorrento Valley beer scene can always call themselves Mira Mesa breweries instead.

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The Mira Mesa community is defined by the Mira Mesa Community Plan, which is approved by the City Council. It covers the entire area shown on your map. It includes the Sorrento Mesa business area along Mira Mesa Blvd and the Miramar business area along and north of Miramar Road. The Sorrento Valley business area is in the Torrey Pines community along Sorrento Valley Blvd and Sorrento Valley Road, which is to the north and west of the map. The police department uses names for its police beats so that the location is easier to identify, and they call these “neighborhoods”. The “Sorrento Valley neighborhood” discussed in this article is police beat #931. The Mira Mesa “neighborhood” is police beat #242 and the Miramar “neighborhood” is police beat #243. These names and boundaries are defined for police department purposes and can be changed at any time. They have no other meaning than that. The Sorrento Valley neighborhood is a peculiar police beat that includes about half of the Sorrento Valley business area, combined with the residential area on Lopez Ridge, the Sorrento Mesa business area and the business area along Miramar Road extending all the way into University City. Note that the New English Brewing Company on Sorrento Valley Road is not in Sorrento Valley according to this definition.

The caption at the top of your article says “The city's new neighborhood signs extend Sorrento Valley east to Camino de Santa Fe.” This is completely untrue. What is true is that a group called the Sorrento Valley Town Council somehow got the City to put up signs at the boundaries of the police department neighborhood. This was done at the City’s expense and without notifying the Mira Mesa Community Planning Group, the Torrey Pines Community Planning Board, or either the district 1 or district 6 City Council offices, and over the expressed opposition of the Mira Mesa Community Planning Group which reviewed the sign proposal in October 2014. Rather than publishing the material they put out, perhaps the Reader’s readers would be better served if you would look into how they accomplished this without the notifications, permits and payment that are usually required.

Jeff Stevens Chair, Mira Mesa Community Planning Group

I will apologize for anything I said that was incorrect. The basis for my comments were:

  1. The traffic engineer responsible for installing the signs said they were paid for by the City and that the applicant provided no liability insurance. He could not identify who in the City had approved the signs.

  2. The Mira Mesa representative in Chris Cate’s office said that they were not involved in the installation of the signs and were unaware that they were going to be installed. He is trying to track down how they were approved.

  3. I talked to the Chair of the Torrey Pines Community Planning Board and she was unaware that the signs had been installed, and she asked me to give them a presentation to explain the issue. Their website says that the October 8, 2015 meeting was cancelled for lack of agenda items.

  4. The Mira Mesa Community Planning Group recommended against signs based on police department boundaries at their October 14, 2014 meeting, and the applicant did not inform the City of this action.

The police department is indeed the keeper of the neighborhood maps, but Betsy’s 2001 memo is incorrect in her description of what they are. She says “Neighborhoods are boundaries reflecting the perception of residents within a particular area,” which is manifestly untrue in this case, as the only area called “Sorrento Valley” at the time the neighborhoods were created was the Sorrento Valley Business area in the Torrey Pines community, and the police department neighborhood only includes half of it, but then extends south for miles to Miramar Road in University City.

This is the Police Department explanation of their “neighborhood map”: This is a map of city neighborhoods drawn up by the community-oriented San Diego Police Department to enable officers and citizens to refer to the same place names as they work together on law and order problems.

In other words, the neighborhood names were invented as an alternative to police beat numbers so that people would more easily understand locations referenced by the police.

Many people reading this may think this is all silly – why does it matter what name people use for their neighborhood? The fact is that multiple names apply to the same location, and they are all correct in the right context. See http://miramesatowncouncil.org/where_am_i for a detailed explanation. However, the community plan defines how the different parts of the Mira Mesa community work together, and how public facilities are provided for the whole community, so it is important that all residents and businesses understand this.

Jeff Stevens Chair, Mira Mesa Community Planning Group

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