CUSDWatch - Response to CUSD's Statement Regarding Toll Road Alignment



Capistrano Unified School District Board of Trustees Vote 6-1 to Adopt Resolution No. 1617-89." 

Trustee Martha McNicholas voted against the Resolution.

"SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, CA— The Capistrano Unified School District Board of Trustees voted 6-1 on Wednesday, June 28, to adopt Resolution No. 1617-89, Resolution of the Capistrano Unified School District Opposing Any Toll Road Extension Alignment that Adversely Affects District School Sites and Students." 

CUSD has remained silent while a Toll Road has been Graded 500' from the Tesoro High School Campus tennis court, which is inside Tesoro High School property boundaries.

Here is the document that proves that the California Department of Transportation, TCA, the Ranch, and the County knew they were grading a road within 500' of Tesoro's tennis court inside CUSD property boundaries. 

Source: at page 294

Is CUSD saying they were unaware of this? The Grading started last August and since no protective barriers were constructed, it is a pretty safe assumption that no adult cared about dust that has been ongoing for the past 11 months and has soil that may contain known pesticides and ordnance.

"The District is not and has not been involved with the Transportation Corridor Agency (TCA) or any other organization or entity regarding the planning of the Toll Road extension."

CUSD did agree to buy the Esencia School site for $33.86 million from the Ranch ($2.4 million per acre- valued at "highest and best use"... as if there were 100 homes built on the land). Land that is right on the 241 Toll Road at Cow Camp. This land purchase was placed on the Consent Calendar without a price. Until that day all references to the cost of the land stated $21 million or $1.5 million per acre. CUSD appears to have gifted public assets to the Ranch. There is currently an open investigation by the District attorney regarding this land purchase.

Complaint filed with the District Attorney:

"The District met with community members to discuss TCA’s proposed project ideas/alternatives and learned, just like many in our community, some of the Toll Road extension plans come close to existing schools."

I attend all Board meetings and I am not aware of any discussions that invited Community members to discuss Toll Road plans. This all came to my attention when I drove out to Esencia to look at the school site and was astonished to find how much of the Ranch Plan was actually lived in and there were no new schools built yet.

"After examining the grant deeds for Tesoro High School, and having them plotted by a licensed land surveyor, the District determined the Los Patrones Parkway construction, which is being constructed within the originally planned alignment for the Toll Road, is not being constructed on District property. It is proposed for land, adjacent to the District’s property. The property conveyed to the District consists of four assessor parcels, identified as Assessor Parcel Nos. 125-096-59, -60, -69 and -82. While, regardless, no construction is occurring on Parcel -82, the District has identified certain title record conflicts relating to ownership of that parcel, and is working with legal counsel to review and clarify such conflicts."

I attended the June 28, 2017 Board Meeting and spoke on this very point... Parcel #82. The Board Audio is no longer up for any 2017-18 meetings??? At that meeting CUSD's attorney stated on the record that Parcel #82 was owned by CUSD and somehow the Ranch is grading within that parcel near the tennis court.

Geez- I hope that Board audio doesn't disappear!

"With respect to current construction, Los Patrones Parkway, in either its current form or the expanded original SR-241 Toll Road alignment, was part of and addressed by the District’s California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) analysis for both Tesoro High School and Esencia K-8 in Rancho Mission Viejo. Air quality and noise impacts, among others, were all part of the environmental considerations undertaken not only by the District, but also the County in approving the Environmental Impact Reports (EIR) for Rancho Mission Viejo. Neither the District’s environmental document for our sites, nor Rancho Mission Viejo’s environmental documentation, suggest the presence of toxic soils." 

The original EIR’s which these agencies are relying on, indicated that "Los Patrones", aka “F Street” was to be a FREE collector road and that the 241 Toll Road Extension "Tesoro Alignment" was to be aseparate Toll Road east of Tesoro High School and Los Patrones aka "F Street".

The original FEIR 589 was completed in 2004, and the original documents called for the extension of the 241 to be along the “Tesoro Alignment” NOT the Los Patrones Parkway aka "F Street" Alignment. 

The original EIR clearly showed that "Los Patrones" aka "F Street" was a separate "Local Collector Road" that terminated at Oso Parkway.

The original EIR clearly showed that the 241 terminated at Oso Parkway.  

There was NO DIRECT CONNECTION planned between the 241 Toll Road Tesoro Extension and "Los Patrones" aka “F Street”.  

Here is the document to prove that:

Environmental Impact Report No. 589 Exhibit 3-22

All environmental review and noise/pollution testing was done based on Los Patrones remaining a FREE collector road with lower speed limits and less noise and traffic than a Toll Road located farther east than the current alignment which is inside Tesoro High School property boundaries.

The new alignment is a substantial change that should have triggered a new EIR to ensure that the long term health and safety of Tesoro students and faculty were protected. 

What the parties did, was change the original EIR which stated that Tesoro High School was the only “sensitive receptor” within the Ranch. The new EIR which states there were NO “sensitive receptors” in the Ranch.

In the Addendum to final EIR NOs 584 and 589 The Ranch Plan "F" Street Alignment (Cow Camp Road to Oso Parkway Permit ST140005 the TCA/County/Ranch/ changed the document to state that there are NO SENSITIVE RECEPTORS within the Ranch Plan Area, and proceeded to grade the extension to the 241 Toll Road 800' closer to Tesoro than originally planned. Appendix A-7

“Concerns, relative to dust from grading are legitimate concerns shared by the District—and the District will do its part to report any observed fugitive dust emissions to the Orange County Planning Director, as called for in the Rancho Mission Viejo EIR and addendums for the Roadway,” said Capistrano Unified School District Superintendent Kirsten Vital."

I called Tesoro and complained about the dust and grading so close to the High School months ago, and left my name and phone number. I also know several parents have called and tried to express their concern about the dust

The land near Tesoro used to be Citrus orchards and the Grant Deeds states that there may be pesticides in the soil. In addition that area of the Ranch was part of the Plano Trabuco Target Area and tons of ordnance has been dug up throughout the Ranch. The City of Rancho Santa Margarita even has a page dedicated to this on their City web site.


"Because the Toll Road is a County approved project, it does not involve any District approvals, easements, or agreements."


The County told me that under "Local Control" it is CUSD that controls how many building permits are to be issued based on seats in CUSD. CUSD could stop allowing permits to be issued but they choose not to even though the District is 8,555 students over capacity.


Source: March 2016 Residential Development School Fee Justification Study

Drive out to the Ranch and see how many homes are already occupied and then ask CUSD where they plan to put all of these students this September because no new schools have been built and according to the chart above the problem is with high school students not K-8 students.

"Before TCA can construct the ultimate Toll Expressway extension to Interstate-5, it will be required to identify, and environmentally review, a new alignment for such a project. The District will continue to monitor and review such proposals, and can address any concern as presented."

The Toll Road alignment that is currently planned is #14. Grading has already begun next to LaPata and CUSD has already done work to move practice fields from the lower campus to the upper campus to make way for the on-ramp from the Toll Road to the 5 Freeway. The decision of CUSD to remove students from the upper campus by building a $15 million dollar building without gaining any capacity and loosing 37 parking spots is odd. They currently plan to let all the buildings on the upper campus sit empty and put two practice fields up there?



Rumor Has It -

June 7, 2017 BOT Meeting San Clemente High Upper Campus

I don't believe a word CUSD says to the Public anymore. Does anyone from the Public? Especially after the $889 million dollar Measure M Bond that CUSD failed to disclose in ad hoc meetings with the Cities?

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