Otay (pronounced Oh-Tie) is derived from the Kumeyaay language. Although its meaning is disputed, possible derivations include "otai", meaning "brushy"; "Tou-ti" meaning "big mountain"; or "etaay" meaning "big".Mesa is the Spanish word for plateau, table or tableland.
Aviation pioneer John J. Montgomery made the first controlled flights in the western hemisphere using a series of gliders from the west rim of Otay Mesa in 1883/1884.,
The area which now includes Otay Mesa was annexed from San Diego County along with other portions of South San Diego in 1957. Additional annexation of almost four thousand acres was approved in 1985.
Since 2010, seven cross-border tunnels have been found linking Warehouses in Otay Mesa with entry points within Mexico.
The Otay Mesa Port of Entry is one of two border crossings within the city of San Diego, the other being the San Ysidro Port of Entry six miles to the west. Trucks are generally instructed to use the border crossing in Otay Mesa instead of the San Ysidro one. Otay Mesa also houses an immigration detention center.
Located 1.5 miles north of the Mexico-United States Border, is the 510 megawatt Otay Mesa Generating Plant, which came online in 2009. This power plant will be joined with the Pio Pico Energy Center peaker, which will generate an additional 300 megawatts.
Pacific Gateway Park is located between Otay Mesa Road and the international border.
Five major law-enforcement facilities are located in Otay Mesa: