New Information: The EIR for Chiquita Canyon High School aka Tesoro High School is now online on the Capistrano unified School District web site at Toll Road Facts

February 13, 2019

US Army Corps of Engineers
ATTN: CECC-C
441 G Street, NW
Washington, DC 20314-1000
James Wittaiker
Phone 202-761-0511
Fax 202-761-00270
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US Army Corps of Engineers
5900 La Place Ct Suite 100,
Carlsbad, CA 92008-8832
Ph: (213) 452-3897;
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U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Office of Law Enforcement
2800 Cottage Way, W-2928
Sacramento, CA 95825-1846
Phone: (916) 414-6660
Fax: (916) 414-6715
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California Department of Fish and Wildlife
South Coast Region
Regional Manager: Ed Pert
3883 Ruffin Road,
San Diego, CA 92123
(858) 467-4201
FAX: (858) 467-4299
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Dave Gibson
Northern Watershed Protection Unit
California Regional Water Quality Control Board
San Diego Region
9174 Sky Park Court, Suite 100
San Diego, CA 92123-4340
Telephone: (858) 467-4387
Fax: (858) 571-6972
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Eugene Bromley
US Environmental Protection Agency
Region IX
Permits Issuance Section (W-5-1)
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
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(Sent via e-mail)  

Re: Alleged Violation of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act / Construction of SR-241 without a valid CEQA or NEPA review: Canada Chiquita Channel (L06) which flows into San Juan Creek (L01) Watershed

I wish to bring the following to your attention:

The habitat south of Oso Parkway in the unincorporated area of Orange County; California known as Rancho Mission Viejo, is a very rare and special alkaline "wetland". Only 8 of these special habitats have been identified in the State of California. (See: Baseline Geomorphic and Hydrologic Conditions Rancho Mission Viejo: Portions of the San Juan and Western San Mateo Watershed at page 115)

Construction of SR-241, Los Patrones Parkway, and "F" Street were not suppose to begin south of the Oso bridge until a NEPA review of the projects were completed. However, it appears that parties are building SR-241 in segments for the specific purpose of avoiding a NEPA review. See State 241 Foothill South and Tesoro Extensions Settlement Agreement.

The Toll Road Projects can be viewed at South Orange County Traffic Relief (Oso Bridge Gap Closure Project).

The proposed alignment of the Tesoro Extension of SR-241 has been shifted 800' feet west and CalTRANS/TCA are using the 401 Wastewater Certification Number R9-2014-0144 granted to Rancho Mission Viejo to construct Los Patrones Parkway aka "F" Street to construct SR-241 without any environmental review.

Certification Number R9-2014-0144 expressly states:

"F" Street is not the Tesoro Extension of SR-241 that was denied waste water discharge requirements by the San Diego Water Board in 2013 (proceeding on Tentative Order R9-2013-0007) or a facility related to SR-241 and the Tesoro Extension is not covered by this Certification. "F" Street will be operated by the County of Orange as a free road." 

Despite the explicit language in Certification Number R9-2014-0144  Caltrans/TCA/County of Orange/and Rancho Mission Viejo have in fact proceeded to begin construction of the Oso Bridge Gap Closure Project (the direct connection of the 241 Toll Road to Los Patrones Parkway aka Tesoro Extension of SR-241 south of Oso Bridge) without any environmental review.

There is no valid CEQA or NEPA for this project.

F Street Addendum to FEIR 584 & 589 at page 49 of the EIR states:

3.3.2 DRAINAGE SYSTEMS

The only major (regional) drainage facility identified in the Project area is County Facility L06 (Cañada Chiquita), which drains northeast to southwest across SR-241 and Oso Parkway in a double 10-foot by 10-foot reinforced concrete box culvert (RCB), which outlets on the south side of Oso Parkway into a basin. The L06 facility then drains from the existing flood-control basin located southwest of Oso Parkway. It runs parallel to the “F” Street alignment on the west side in a 14-foot by 10-foot RCB under Tesoro Creek Road for approximately 0.25 mile, providing flood protection to Tesoro High School. It then outlets into a natural canyon, which flows for approximately 1.25 miles, discharging into an unnamed tributary.

The Capistrano Unified School District own Tesoro Creek Road which is on Parcel 125-096-82. The district also owns Parcels Nos. 125-096-59, 125-096-60, 125-096-69. All four of the Districts parcels were placed into the Right-of -Way for SR-241 by entities that did not own them, and therefore had no right to encumber them.

The lead agency for environmental review of L06 is not "unknown", it is the Capistrano Unified School District.

Canada Chiquita Channel discharges into San Juan Creek, not an "unknown tributary" as stated in Rancho Mission Viejo's EIR for "F" Street.

The Army Core of Engineers did work on L06 when Tesoro High School was constructed in the late 1990's. L06 is part of the flood channel.

The following is from the final Environmental Impact Report for Chiquita Canyon High School (aka Tesoro High School) which I received per a public records request. 

 

US Army Corp of Engineers DA Number: SPL-2015-00054 is "F" Street from "A" Street to Oso Parkway, Rancho Mission Viejo.

A FOIA Request would be required to obtain the US Army Corps of Engineers Permit for Chiquita Canyon High School Capistrano Unified School District because it was issued prior to 2010. 

The Permit number is #1997-19400. 

I am bringing this to your attention because all of the drainage for these projects are being designed to run onto Tesoro High Schools' Parcel 125-096-82 and underneath the school. Due to errors is CC 2001-01, all four parcels of land owned by the Capistrano Unified School District have been placed into the right-of-way for the Tesoro Extension of SR-241 by entities that did not own them, and therefore had no right to encumber them. See: January 29, 2019 Letter to the California Department of Real Estate re: Potential Violation of the Subdivision Map Act.

Designing all of the water to flow onto Parcel 125, 096-82 and underneath the school threatens the structural integrity of the school and threatens the health and safety of staff and students. A Toll Road is now being built on school district property without the required legal set back, and without the required protective barrier (a 10' high 3,777 foot long wall) as required by CEQA. See: February 13, 2018 Letter to the California State Water Resources Board - Office of Enforcement.

The soils in this area are prone to Liquefaction and slippage.

In a recent Kitchell School Facilities Report it stated: 

Architectural Elements

Key Concerns for this school include soil movement, the roofs are in poor condition, and many of the concrete roof tiles are damaged, cracked or missing. Additionally, it should be noted that a significant amount of cracking was observed in the exterior walls, and that poor soil conditions may be an issue.

See: December 2017 Appeal to the State Board of Education: Williams Complaint Capistrano Unified School District for Tesoro High School 

Here is a link to the Kitchell Report for Tesoro High School on CUSD's website- this page appears to have been changed since my Williams Complaint over a year ago..

Here are LA Times Articles re: The issues in getting Tesoro High School built.

Articles: 

http://articles.latimes.com/1998/mar/04/local/me-25215

http://articles.latimes.com/1998/aug/28/local/me-17322

http://articles.latimes.com/1998/jan/22/local/me-10976

The following should also be brought to your attention:

The following is from the final Environmental Impact Report for Chiquita Canyon High School (aka Tesoro High School) which I received per a public records request.  

Response to Comments Page 9

"F" Street was originally suppose to connect to Tesoro Creek Road.

"F" Street should never have been a viable option because Tesoro Creek Road is not a "Road", it is a driveway per CalTrans.

 

I hope that this documentation will be sufficient to ask that a NEPA review of the construction of SR-241 south of the Oso Bridge be opened, so that the health and safety of Tesoro High School staff and students will be protected and so will the special wetlands habitat.

Thank you,

 

Dawn Urbanek,
Taxpayer and Capistrano Unified School District Advocate