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Juan the Dinosaur Debate Returns to City Hall

Zoomars Petting Zoo owner Carolyn Franks is still seeking approval for her Apatosaurus statue.

Juan the Zoomars dinosaur is back on the agenda at City Hall this week.

Zoomars Petting Zoo owner Carolyn Franks is trying another tack to get her dinosaur statue, known as Juan, city-approved. She has applied for a permit that would allow the 13-foot-tall Apatosaurus to evade an eviction notice upheld by the Planning Commission.

Juan has been deemed a little too historic for the oldest neighborhood in California. He appeared on the San Juan Capistrano scene earlier this year without proper permitting.

So Franks has applied to build a whole new educational area – which would include Juan, a reed hut, shade structure, fossil sandbox and a “dig area.”

In her paperwork to the city, Franks says the Apatosaurus constitutes a “passive park and recreational structure consistent with the Los Rios Specific Plan,” according to a report to the Cultural Heritage Commission, which will consider its recommendations for the new proposal at its meeting Tuesday.

Some passive park and recreational uses include picnicking, arts and crafts workshops and outdoor cultural performances, according to a staff report.

City staff doesn’t have a problem with any of the Zoomars’ proposals, except for the one named Juan.

The reed hut, or kiicha, predates the area’s 236-year history, but it’s closely tied to the Juaneño Indians native to the area.

“Clearly, that cultural connection to the historic district and the community is historically significant and important,” the staff report reads.

Juan, on the other hand … not so much.

“The proposed Apatosaurus (dinosaur) statue is not clearly consistent with these provisions, especially the purpose and intent statement of” the historical commercial zoning district, staff wrote.

To overcome this problem, the Planning Commission would have to agree with Franks that Juan is part of a passive park. The Cultural Heritage Commission’s role is to make a recommendation to the Planning Commission. It meets at 5 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 32400 Paseo Adelanto in San Juan Capistrano.

ca November 29, 2012 at 01:09 AM
ooo, i hope i read this correctly... Juan the Apatosaurous has been approved? that's AWESOME!! i can't wait to take my grandson to see him and the zoo!! Kudos to the committee!
ca November 29, 2012 at 01:16 AM
hmm, what makes me think that "Juan" can be seen from Kim backyard... and boy does she sound annoyed....
Penny Arévalo November 29, 2012 at 01:19 AM
Actually, not yet. He's cleared the first hurdle, but it's the Planning Commission (and maybe the City Council if the matter is appealed) that will have the final say. The Cultural Heritage Commission is an advisory board to the Planning Commission and City Council.
Art Guevara January 01, 2013 at 12:41 AM
Friday the 28 2013 my son was married in San Francisco this is the photo where Juanito the San Juan Capistrano Apatosaurus posed for the painting Blue Moon at the Golden Gate. see more at Art Guevara Facebook
ca January 02, 2013 at 03:19 AM
I had the opportunity to walk thru Los Rios district this morning w/my family including our 2 year old grandson. I LOVE Juan the apatosaurus… what a fun addition to the area and to our town! City Council, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don't banish Juan from our town! If you could have seen the excitement and conversation about our town's dinosaur not just w/our grandson but the other families who were visiting Zoomars today…. not sure what "kims" issue is but she's in the minority by a large percentage…. I heard no grousing nor grumbling at the sight of Juan… let's forgive this application error on Ms Franks as the new year begins and welcome Juan as a one of our towns jewels!

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