Stay of Execution for SJC's Dinosaur?

The city has given the owner of Zoomars Petting Zoo 15 days to file the proper permits for the 13-foot replica erected last month.

Will San Juan Capistrano’s dinosaur get a reprieve?

The owner of is now going through the process at City Hall to get the 13-foot dinosaur approved retroactively.

It first made its BIG impression in heart of the  last month. , Apatosaurus (a.k.a. Brontosaurus), volunteers working to preserve the 18th century charm of the area weren’t as thrilled.

Jerry Nieblas, president of the , is leading the charge to have the dinosaur removed immediately and has called it a “mockery of the history of San Juan Capistrano.” 

The city sent Carolyn Franks, Zoomars owner, a letter regarding the Jurassic-era replica last week. According to City Manager Karen Brust’s weekly update, the letter provides the property owner 15 days to proceed with removing the dinosaur or submitting a formal application to obtain zoning approval of the dinosaur.

The plans will have to go through the planning process, which includes stops at the city’s Cultural Heritage Commission, Planning Commission and City Council.

Franks said she is taking the city up on its offer.

“We were offered the opportunity to have our animal exhibit reviewed further in order to secure a building permit,” she said. “This decision was based off of our conditional use permit for the petting zoo, in existence for 30 years, and an approved site plan for a play area where the dinosaur sits.”

The city actually presented Franks with several options, she said.

“Due to the positive feedback we have received from thousands of Orange County locals, San Juan residents, dinosaur enthusiasts everywhere and hundreds of children every day, we have decided to take the necessary measures to keep our dinosaur on the property,” Franks said.

For his part, Nieblas said he is happy the city has taken such swift action.

“We commend the city for stepping up and defending the historical integrity, the culture, the character and the families of Los Rios Street and all it represents,” he said.

thejellyfish July 05, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Just out of curiousity, what part of this zoning requires a permit?
Penny Arévalo July 05, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Los Rios is a special district that has additional safeguards/permits to ensure continuity with the historic character of the neighborhood.
wschrimp July 05, 2012 at 08:40 PM
I am glad to see the city give Zoomars a fighting chance. So what is Mr. Nieblas going to say if the city gives it's approval for the dinosaur? He said he commends the city for it's swift action, but obviously the only action he wants is to see it removed. I truely hope the city sees this issue for what it is and that they allow "Juan" to stay put. It will be a big draw for the city, bringing in families that may not have been here before, which will in turn bring is more needed tax dollars to the area. San Juan Capistrano City Council, please stop over regulating our city or watch San Juan business go the way of the dinosaurs.


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