• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Mission neighbors object to new dinosaur statue at petting zoo

June 20, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
An attention-grabbing dinosaur statue is getting more interest than the owner wanted. Some San Juan Capistrano residents say it just doesn't fit into the historic Los Rios Neighborhood. Some neighbors want it to vanish just like the real dinosaurs.

There's a a new addition to Zoomars Petting Zoo in San Juan Capistrano: a 13-foot-tall dinosaur sculpture appeared a week ago. Zoomars owner Carolyn Franks paid $12,000 for it, hoping to get kids interested in history.

"This gets to talk about history 200 million years ago, and how cool is that?" said Franks.

But not everyone seems so excited. The dinosaur sits on property along historic Los Rios Street in the middle of the 18th century district. The area is listed on the National Register of Historical Places. The Capistrano Historical Alliance Committee, made up of some longtime residents, wants the city to have the dinosaur removed.

In a statement the group says: "The sculpture doesn't fit into the historical nature of the Los Rios Neighborhood. There is a historical Los Rios specific plan that preserves the historic integrity of the street. The dinosaur sculpture does not fit into the early California mission neighborhood."

"You don't notice it from the street. The kids love it. I don't see why anyone would have a problem with it," said visiting mother Pooneh Bassirpou.

Carolyn Franks has received a lot of support from people who want to see the sculpture stay. The city is listening to both sides.

City officials say the dinosaur was installed without zoning approval or building permits. City Code Enforcement personnel are now investigating.

"I am working with the city. If they feel that I need permits for the dinosaur -- it's a statue, it's temporary. It can be moved," said Franks.

Franks hopes it can stay where it is, believing history shouldn't be limited to the 1700s or 1800s.