Oh no! dino must go in San Juan Capistrano

Carolyn Franks stands by her friend, Juan the Dinosaur. (Courtesy of Elizabeth Ortiz)

Elizabeth Ortiz

The city council meeting was packed over an appeal to reconsider the removal of Juan or Juanita which is the name of this dinosaur, made out of fiberglass, that some San Juan historical- Alliance members have described as a beast.

A vote was decided to remove the dinosaur from the city because of the preservation of an old historic Indian trail that once led to Dana Point and is adjacent to Zoomars in the Los Rios street quarter.
“The Los Rios District is documented as the oldest residence in the state of California,” and the statue is not in working concordance to the original preservation plan and should not be there by any means,” Planning Commissioner, Roy L. Byrds said.
 The planning commission previously denied the statue but an appeal was made to reconsider. This brought much attention to the towns people because the room was overflowing when the time came for the appeal.
 A map was brought to the meetings attention by council member Derek Reeve showing that the dinosaur is outside the national registered boundary line.
“It butts up right next to the border but most likely will not change the decision to allow its existence,” said Reeve.
One part of the appeal was to allow owner, Carolyn Franks, to keep the dinosaur another two years even when having to remove it. But the vote was cast and the dinosaur will have to be removed.
Franks feels we have every right as citizens to own something like a statue on a business property.
” Being from New Jersey, I wanted to create a place where people could come and visit animals on a farm. To learn about stuff and enjoy the environment.” She said. ‘I have been here eight years and really love the people and San Juan community.”
The dinosaur was purchased at an auction on a whim for 12,000 dollars but Franks explains that she carefully took into consideration the height requirements, the color and its authenticity. And  makes it a point to say that the place is not going to turn into an amusement park like people at the meeting  suggested.
“There isn’t much room for expansion but I still feel the need to find creative ways to cater to my customers,” Franks said. 
She mentioned that her biggest opponent was Jerry Nobles, who leads the San Juan Citizens Alliance (SJCA), who thinks that San Juan will turn into Disneyland if no one puts their feet down.
This a group that started in 1986 as an affiliate of the Montrose-based Western Colorado Congress (WCC) and say they are often confused with the historical society but are more for civil rights and environmental issues bathed in a western theme. According to their website,they are known for spearheading large developments from taking place and advocate wilderness, wildlife, road-less area protection and public land management.   
“The core people from the SJCA are mostly against the dinosaur but I am a member, and I’m not,” John  Fischle, one community member said.
He is also part of the 1880’s reenactment group and Fiesta committee and elected Mr Señor San Juan  in 2012 and thinks having the dinasoar is a good and positive thing for people who visit.

“It brings a lot of people in that wouldn’t usually come. This is a tourist destination and it supports that,” Fischle said.

During the meeting, one community member spoke out about how the city is ignoring the historical factor altogether and only thinking about the potential money the dinosaur 
will generate. She pointed out that the visitors are mostly children who don’t spend money in the city, implying that the argument of the revenue earned by keeping the dinosaur, is false.
” The history of River Road was an old footpath that went all the way down to Doheny State Beach which makes this important to me,” said Lori  porter, “I don’t like anything about it.”
“This is one of the oldest streets in early California. No dinosaurs have ever stepped foot onto the land because it was under water. There is nothing historical about it in San Juan,” Rob Williams, a planning commissioner said. “The way
 the dinosaur was processed into existence was not done in the right manner, and asking permission should of been in order,” he said.
“The Los Rios District is documented as the oldest residence in the state and it is only far to serve it justice,” said Roy L Brydes.
With 32 people voicing there opinion, 20 in-favor and 12 who  opposed,
the council took a vote three to two and the final outcome is that the dinosaur must be removed. 
A fence running down the other side of the current national register street, called  River Road, may also cause potential concerns for those history Folks, that attend city council meetings, in the near future. A few SJCA members stated it’s an eye soar. 






It’s all about the Dino during a city council meeting. (Courtesy of Elizabeth Ortiz)

The fence may be next on the cities next agenda (Courtesy of Elizabeth Ortiz)

The old historic foot path, River Road (Courtesy of Elizabeth)

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