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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.

wschrimp November 26, 2012 at 10:51 PM
Sorry Kim, but once again you are wrong. (PART 1) (Sorry have to do this in parts since they only allow 1500 words) First off, there was no arrogance involved here, you are way off base. I know Ms. Franks and she has from the beginning only wanted to work with the city since this had become an issue. She never imagined this would become an issue. There was no attempt to pull the wool over anyone's eyes. She runs a children's place of amusement, and she thought what a great additions for the kids. She already had the mining area and saw that the kids loved to also find fossils. She thought how great to have the dinosaur to help educate the kids, and sure it could possibly increase business also. It was never, "oh let's stick it to San Juan". She had only the best of intentions.
wschrimp November 26, 2012 at 10:52 PM
(Part 2) The reason so much fuss has been made, is because a "FEW" people with old roots to this city, put up a stink and made so much noise about it that the city had to step in. There are other historical families in this city that are behind Zoomars and the dinosaur. The so named "Capistrano Historical Alliance Committee" has no real power in this city, but they believe they should. They are not the cities Cultural Heritage Committee. They had no basis for their claims that "Ms. Franks " knowingly violated city policies and procedures" when she did nothing of the sort. Are you aware that to date, the city still has not provided proof of one single city law or statute that has been violated? The original complaint read, "Unapproved Brontosaurus", what is that supposed to mean. The only amusement area within the Los Rios district is Zoomars and as such should have some leeway as to what they can add to their business. It is not like the Cafe just installed a Dinosaur on Los Rios Street. It was and is all about egos and politics. Everyone should be aware that is has now cost over $20,000 to install a statue. No surprisingly since the city has received so much money, some opinions of city staff appear to be changing, surprise, surprise. If I was the owner of Zoomars I would sue the city, but that's me.
wschrimp November 26, 2012 at 10:54 PM
(Part 3) Oh, and wow 4 new restaurants that are replacing the dozen or so that failed last year. I am not talking about restaurants, since you cannot compare restaurants to other businesses, they fail not due to city regulations. I am talking about the businesses that do not even open shop here because the permit process takes too long or there are too many regulations. Or the businesses that closed doors because of the regulations and move to neighboring cities.
Kim November 27, 2012 at 12:55 AM
wschrimp..you have your opinion, but, her lack of common sense and her, "I'm above following the rules," is what got her in trouble. Anyone with a little bit of sense would know to consult the City, the CHC, and reach out to the other city agencies to help you achieve your goal. Not just brazenly erect a huge, out of place dinosaur in a historical neighborhood. And the restaurants... it's not the cities fault they closed, more the economy and inexperienced owners. As far as suing the city, not only would Franks case be meritless, but, it is again a desperate and bully attitude, one you apparently foster. Go out this holiday season and enjoy what San Juan has to offer by business owners who played by the rules, and therefore, are still in business!
DVC November 27, 2012 at 01:09 AM
The "Juan" thing is a blatant eyesore---stop all of the stupid appeals and the ongoing press---they point is the buyers made a mistake buying it and are trying to rationalize their mistake--------------------------sell Juan to some sucker that could use it in their backyard as a conversation piece and let the local politicians devote their time to the outrageous ghost train, excessive noise from the train horns and the terrible traffic patterns during commute hours
wschrimp November 27, 2012 at 01:17 AM
Kim. You also have your opinion, but mine is from someone who saw this issue from the very begining, first hand and not one of what others have said or what I have read. It is also your opinion that the dinosaur is "Out of place". Where I and many others believe it is not. I guess only time will tell. By the way, if you read my comments you would see that I stated that the closing of restaurants is not due to the city, and did not want to use them as an example. I helped a new business recently open in San Juan and it took months longer than it does in neighboring cities due to over reguations. They came very close to loosing the business and I have seen others in the past few years move due to the same. It is not that they do not follow the rules, it is that the over regualation many times cause financial hardship on many businesses owners.
Kim November 27, 2012 at 02:29 AM
wschrimp...,take your personal business issues up with the City...they are streamlining the permit process in case you are not aware of it, no more excuses by the weak... DVC, you are so correct, this whole dinosaur debacle is a waste of City time and $.. Let's stick to the real issues and just remove the ugly eye-sore! Case closed..
Redstar November 27, 2012 at 03:54 AM
Kudos to you wschrimp for standing up for Ms. Franks! Juan is an asset to the community and offers an opportunity to educate people who wouldn't otherwise learn about historical aspects of the area. Those fighting this are the bullies... The dinosaur isn't even in the historic district. The only permit is a building permit for footings. She's spent a lot of money to do this and it will only benefit the area.
wschrimp November 27, 2012 at 04:45 AM
I agree with you and DVC on one issue, there has been way too much money and time spent on this issue. The city has more important things to deal with. You say it does not belong and I say it is perfectly fine where it is and does belong. We should be able to disagree and discuss the issues without someone obviously getting mad and name calling.
Dusty W Otero November 27, 2012 at 04:52 AM
Its a statue,,for Pete sakes,,,get a grip .. god owns the land,,we are just renters,,,,Wow Kids are learning from this dinosaur ,,,when I used to walk home from middle school across from the mission 1960,s there was a old Indian manic an in the jail under the el adobe restaurant,,the indian had a microphone in his chest and he would talk to us,,,it was the cook seeing us kids down there,,,fun.. ,that we used to get scared and run home,,,I remember that good time,,keyword people GOOD TIME FOR KIDS.
Dusty W Otero November 27, 2012 at 08:18 PM
that was elementary school... 0 thru 4 th grade lol
Kim November 27, 2012 at 08:56 PM
Redstar...it was done only to benefit her pocketbook only. Why didn't Franks obtain the required permits? Shows no regard for our city laws. Do your homework first, then when cleared, proceed.... unless you believe the best tactic is "catch me when you can".The useless waste of city time and money is what we are speaking about here, and this city needs to concentrate on fiscal issues as a priority, not wasting time on a law-breaking business owner who plays by her own rules. We'' see what happens tonight.
Kim November 27, 2012 at 09:35 PM
WSCHRIMP.... I am sure you remember, or perhaps had something to do with "Juggy", the 13' foot hideous sculpture made of dozens of blue one gallon jugs erected WITHOUT a permit at the Ecology Center. "Juggy" was put up without city pernits, and an eyesore. In Feb 2011, city officials ordered it to be dismantled for not adhering to the city code requirements. Does this sound like Zoomars which you support? More of this will continue if the city turns a deaf ear to breaking it's own laws. Point being, just follow the rules!
wschrimp November 27, 2012 at 10:21 PM
Kim. Heaven help the person who does not agree with you. You really need to watch your words, since some might see them as slanderous against Ms. Franks. NO laws have been broken, just go ask the city. This big waste of time and money is being continually pushed forward by the same few old tired voices in the community. There is an overwhelming community support for Juan. This support has been asked to stay away from the meetings so far, so that Ms. Franks can work with the city. No one has any delusions about what will happen at tonight's meeting, but if you think it is over after tonight, you and the dozen or so against the project are greatly mistaken. Ms. Franks has the same right as any other business owner to grow her business, it is America if you've forgotten. Just like the sign issue with the car dealerships and other concessions the city has made for other business, in the long run it is good for the city. Yes, the dinosaur has been a big draw to Zoomars. Again, her business pulls more foot traffic into this town than any other single business, and the residue dollars spent by the customers of Zoomars is seen all over town. For someone that wants to see the city stop wasting time and money on this issue, you should just let the issue run it's course. The more the opposition keeps this issue in the news, the more publicity it will continue to get, the more time and money will need to be spent.
Kim November 27, 2012 at 11:01 PM
wschrimp...what happened to your comments " we should be able to disagree and discuss the issues without someone obviously getting mad and name calling"....Using works like "slanderous" and "you would sue the city, but, that is just you" speaks volumes about your person. To stay on point, there is an issue here with city regulations being violated, that is the point you apparently don't want to understand. Everyone has an opinion, "heaven help those who don't agree with you"! BTW, "overwhelming community support for Juan, and the dozen or so against the project"...where do you get your facts? You may believe them, but, just because you say it, does not make it the truth. I agree with you on this point, we all know what will happen tonight!
wschrimp November 27, 2012 at 11:31 PM
I am not mad nor did I call you any names, if you are reading my posts that way, then it is on you. I merely pointed out that by you calling Ms. Franks a "law breaking business owner" and keep repeating that she has broken the law time and time again, it could be considered slanderous, since she has broken no laws. Yes, I did say I would sue if it were me. If the city tried to put me out of business over a statue, without a single law being broken, and forced me to put out over $20,000, most of which is now in the city coffers for permits and plan amendments, you are darn right I would sue and I suspect if you polled the business owners in this town you would get the same answer. The only violation the city could come up with was installing a concrete pad without pulling permits, this is not breaking law. Please, how many residents and business owners in this city have installed something or done modifications to their home or business without pulling permits? Other than that issue, the city could not find a single issue. So now it has come down to being not "Historically accurate" for the Los Rios District. Again, they are reaching for straws, since most of the district is not historically accurate. Even the park that the city installed is not historically accurate. The park was installed to attract more families to the Los Rios District, so how is that any different than what Zoomars has done? We will just have to continue to disagree.
Kim November 28, 2012 at 12:39 AM
wschrimp... I never called Ms. Franks a law breaking business owner....show me where? I simply stated "she did not follow city proceedures or policies", you are the one trying to put your spin on my comments, undermining the truth. You do agree there were NO PERMITS pulled, correct? You clearly state you support this sort of behavior, stating that "many residents and business owners in this city have installed something or done modifications to their home or business without pulling permits".... then why have city guidelines, policies, proceedures and laws? As far as historically accurate, the dinosaur is a blight and does not fit into the Los Rios Historical plan. Just deciding to erect a huge dinosaur in a historical area is not the same as adding a sun desk to your home without permits, albeit, the later is wrong. Yes, many of us disagree with you, however, you know what the eventual out come will be...this has been a colossal waste of time. BTW, no comments about "Juggy?
Dusty W Otero November 28, 2012 at 12:56 AM
Plus this lady Mrs. franks pays her taxes and has a mortgage to pay on her own private property ,,,like most of us,, I like it when she wears her cow girl boots..lol keep Juan...
wschrimp November 28, 2012 at 01:04 AM
Kim. Your own words " not wasting time on a law-breaking business owner who plays by her own rules" from one of your earlier posts. There is only one person responding here that is trying to twist the facts to match their own opinion and it is not me. I never said people should not follow city guidelines, policies, procedures and laws. So tell me you have not made any modifications in your home? Have you pulled a permit each time, you know that you must, or if you remove a tree or do landscape changes, you must pull permits, have you every time? I am just pointing out that we can be over regulated. But again, and you are not listening, THERE IS NO CITY REGULATION that would prohibit the placement of the dinosaur statue or statue of any kind on private property. You call the dinosaur blight, and that is your opinion you have the right to, and I say it looks perfectly fine there just like I have the right to. I did not comment on Juggy because you are trying to compare Apples to Oranges, they are two totally different situations.
Kim November 28, 2012 at 02:29 AM
Yes, those were my works, but, I did not use "Ms. Franks" name as you stated I did. I was referring to other businesses as well who have started on the wrong foot, being cited under city code enforcement as Ms. Franks has, and continuing with their " bad behavior". You were intentionally misleading the readers and using my words out of context. That being said, no, I have made no modifications to my house without permits, it's wrong....if the city approves the dinosaur, they are condoning and rewarding bad behavior by someone who just decided to put the huge, ugly thing up with no permit in a historical area, like giving candy to a child for intentional bad behavior. Don't be fooled by her intentions. She obviously could care less about the Los Rios Historical signaficance to San Juan, and cares only about her own personal financial gain. "Juggy" has everything to do with your position and what is transpiring here. It's all arrogance.
Barb November 28, 2012 at 02:40 AM
Kim, you clearly don't know Ms. Franks at all.
Art Guevara November 28, 2012 at 03:04 AM
Yo Art Guevara You know you are welcome in San Juan Capistrano when no one is talking about you. The list thing that you want is people gossiping about you or your family or your affairs but do not messed around with history because that is a no-no in San Juan that is if you have a bad neighbor that doesn’t like you then you’re done. But our children’s are first they Love Juanito that’s the name of my paintings depicting our Dinosaur in San Juan Capistrano, The Time Line Tilted of one of my paintings explain everything from the beginning, Dinosaurs, Native American Tribes, Animals, the river, and then the Padres and the Mission of Capistrano. See more on Art Guevara facebook and enjoy the samples of my Art and tell a friend Be Good and Be Human, like one person said Can we all get along. We Welcome Juanito to our Community. Huamn Rights Advocate
Penny Arévalo (Editor) November 28, 2012 at 03:16 AM
Read what happened at the Cultural Heritage Commission this evening http://patch.com/A-zQYJ
wschrimp November 28, 2012 at 03:18 AM
Level heads have prevailed. The Cultural Heritage Committee have approved the revised plan for Zoomars which includes Juan the Apatosaurous.
Kim November 28, 2012 at 04:09 AM
Penny, I have and commented. Thanks for the coverage of the meeting.
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 (Editor) 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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