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.