Area: Approximately 376 acres
North: Mission Creek and Las Encinas Road
South: Sola Street
East: Laguna Street, Olive Avenue, and Olive Street
West: State Street
The Upper East neighborhood contains one of Santa Barbara's best known features, the Old Mission. In addition, the neighborhood has a highly significant concentration of the cultural and religious institutions serving the entire city, including St. Anthony's Seminary, the Museum of Natural History and Alameda Park, and Alice Keck Memorial Gardens.
With the exception of the State Street frontage below Mission Street where motels and offices are found, Upper East is a district of large, prestigious homes. Most structures are spacious, single-family houses set back from the street on large lots. The presence of these large, older, single-family houses has generated occasional pressure for their conversion to apartment use. This pressure has been successfully resisted, however, by the Upper Eastside Improvement Association and by the City. As a result, some of these homes have been restored and are continuing in use as single-family dwellings, while others have been demolished so that new homes could be built in their place. The adherence to single-family zoning has provided protection for the considerable investments made by residents who wish to live in this attractive residential area. Since this is the only area of its type with advantages of a close-in location, the General Plan recommends that it be preserved with an overall density of three dwelling units to the acre.
Along the southern border of the Upper East neighborhood below approximately Valerio Street, apartment structures can be seen together with professional offices, churches, and schools. This type of development results from a mixture of commercial offices, hospital office, and multiple-dwelling zones, and it reflects the General Plan, which calls for a density of twelve dwelling units to the acre. Because of its conveniently close proximity to downtown, further redevelopment to higher-density residential uses will probably occur in this section.