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Toll Road Facts

5/31/19: An Update on Litigation Regarding the Oso Parkway Bridge:

The Court of Appeal denied CUSD’s legal challenge of the County of Orange’s approval of the Oso Parkway Bridge Project.  This project is a collaboration between the County of Orange and CalTrans, funded by TCA, the agency which operates the 241 toll road. The District is understandably disappointed and disagrees with the result.

In December 2017, the District initiated litigation to compel the County, TCA, and CalTrans to follow environmental law and provide air quality, traffic, and noise mitigation for Tesoro High School and Esencia Elementary School arising from the increased traffic and the potential that tolls would be applied to Los Patrones Parkway.  In discussions before our lawsuit, the County declined to consider any of CUSD’s proposed mitigation measures to the Oso Parkway Bridge project (e.g. sound/air quality walls, air filters, sound attenuating windows, connector road/signal).

The next step would be for CUSD to bring a costly petition to the California Supreme Court for review; however, the CUSD Board of Trustees determined that further legal expenditures is not in the best interest of students.  We will continue to monitor these projects and the continuing efforts of the County of Orange, TCA, and CalTrans.

 

2/14/19: An Update on Litigation re: the Oso Bridge: We are scheduled for oral arguments on our appeal on March 18, 2019, at 1:30 p.m. in Santa Ana. 

An Update on Parcel 82 and Drainage at Tesoro High School Related to Construction of the Oso Bridge

CUSD v. County of Orange and related Respondents, including the Transportation Corridor Agency

 Update Regarding Litigation initiated Against the County of Orange: 12/20/2017

Over the last few months, we have engaged in discussions with the County of Orange about what appropriate mitigation measures should be included in the Oso Bridge and Los Patrones Parkway projects near Tesoro High School and Esencia K-8 School. The County declined to incorporate any of our proposed mitigation measures into the Los Patrones or Oso Bridge projects (e.g. sound/air quality walls, air filters, sound attenuating windows, connector road/signal), therefore, today we are commencing litigation against the County (including various staff members in their official capacities), TCA, and Caltrans on the Oso Parkway Bridge EIR Addendum.

 

Our Board of Trustees continues to have concerns over any projects that would adversely affect the health, safety, well-being and learning of our students, teachers and staff. We will continue to pursue efforts to mitigate any potential health impacts regarding these projects.

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Los Patrones Parkway FAQ: July 24, 2017

CUSD - Parcel -82 and Tesoro Drainage

The Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) is aware of claims again resurfacing as to its ownership of certain real property at Tesoro High School, and now allegations of adverse drainage impacts created by the construction of Los Patrones Parkway.  Specifically, the claims relate to CUSD’s ownership of property adjacent to the construction of Los Patrones Parkway, to the east of the high school, and supposedly the drainage improvements constructed when the school was constructed.

CUSD had previously identified certain issues arising in connection with record ownership of one of its parcels of real property, due to an error in a 2001 Certificate of Compliance that was utilized as the legal description in a land transfer between DMB San Juan Investment North, LLC and RMV Middle Chiquita, LLC (aka, “Rancho Mission Viejo”).  Such error has since been corrected by the recording of a Quitclaim Deed wherein Rancho Mission Viejo acknowledged the error and, for the record, remised, released, reconveyed, and forever quitclaimed its interests in Parcel -82, if any, to CUSD.

Claims now center on the necessity for CUSD to bring a quiet title action against Rancho Mission Viejo.  Such action, however, would merely accomplish the same purpose of the quitclaim deed, and thus would be unnecessary.  A quiet title action would have been the appropriate action had Rancho Mission Viejo disputed CUSD’s claims of error.  Rancho Mission Viejo did not dispute CUSD’s claim, and rather confirmed the error and executed the quitclaim deed, thus resolving the issue.

In order to address these claims, with supporting documentation, CUSD is providing the following responses:

What property does the Capistrano Unified School District own at Tesoro High School?

In 1997 and 2000, CUSD received the property now comprising the Tesoro High School campus from San Juan Partnership No. I and DMB San Juan Investment North, LLC, respectively.  The land grants were recorded as part of two separate grant deeds, recorded with the County of Orange as Document Nos. 19970143928 and 20000330046, on March 31, 1997, and June 23, 2000, respectively. 

CUSD recently had the legal descriptions of the properties set forth in the grant deeds plotted, in order to confirm the full extent of the land transferred to CUSD.  The plotting identified the land transferred to CUSD, as compared to the applicable Orange County Assessor Parcel Map.  Based on such plotting, CUSD’s land holdings include Assessor Parcel Nos. 125-096-59, -60, -69, and -82 (hereinafter, “Parcels -59, -60, -69, and -82.”).

An estimated overlay of CUSD’s property as compared to an aerial depiction of the Assessor Parcel Map is available here.

Who owns Parcel -82?

Based on the land grants to CUSD, CUSD owns Parcel -82.  CUSD had its deeds plotted to confirm that understanding.  CUSD reviewed its own records, as well as an index of documents recorded with the County of Orange, and uncovered no title transfers of Parcel -82 to any other entity.  CUSD did transfer a small, unrelated portion of Parcel -69 to the Santa Margarita Water District in 2001.

It is true that in 2017, CUSD became aware of certain discrepancies in County Records that reflected RMV Middle Chiquita, LLC, as the record owner of Parcel -82.  Such discrepancy derived from a 2004 grant deed from DMB San Juan Investment North, LLC, recorded with the County of Orange as Document No. 2004000978175 on October 29, 2004 (referencing a Certificate of Compliance recorded on July 26, 2001, as Orange County Document No. 20010508635, as the basis for the legal description of properties, including a “Parcel 4” that would cover Parcel -82).

CUSD, in conjunction with Rancho Mission Viejo, corrected such discrepancy on March 1, 2018, with the recording of a Quitclaim Deed, recorded as County of Orange Instrument No. 2018000074681.  While thus far unsubstantiated arguments have been made that the quitclaim deed was insufficient to correct the error, CUSD has confirmed with Chicago Title Company that record ownership of Parcel -82, based on the recording the Quitclaim Deed, now properly reflects CUSD.

Is a Quiet Title Action necessary to correct ownership of Parcel -82?

No.  A quiet title action may have been necessary to judicially enforce CUSD’s rights as to Parcel -82 had Rancho Mission Viejo contested CUSD’s ownership of Parcel -82.  Rancho Mission Viejo did not contest such ownership, however, and instead cooperated with CUSD in the preparation and execution of the Quitclaim Deed.  The Quitclaim Deed provides the same result that would otherwise be sought by CUSD in a quiet title action.  Claims that a quiet title action is necessary, despite the quitclaim deed, are akin to arguing that a case should be litigated to judgment, despite all parties agreeing upon an executed settlement agreement.

Do the ownership discrepancies relative to Parcel -82 impact current grading activities?

No.  There is still no evidence suggesting grading activities for Los Patrones Parkway are occurring on Parcel -82.  When CUSD previously stated that no grading activities relative to the Los Patrones Parkway project were occurring on CUSD property, Parcel ‑82 was included within that statement.  CUSD is continuing to monitor grading activities in this regard.

CUSD has still not approved any grading for Los Patrones Parkway on CUSD property.

Is Los Patrones Parkway causing drainage onto Tesoro High School?

Cañada Chiquita Creek has, since long before the construction of Tesoro High School, flowed in or around its current location, from north of the high school to the south of it.  Concurrent with the construction of the high school, in order to avoid flooding from the creek, massive drainage facilities were constructed to take flow from Cañada Chiquita Creek underground, from the northeast of the campus to a facility just south of the now-existing track field.  Both structures are visible from aerial photographs.  Such construction coincided with construction of the high school, and substantially pre-dated Los Patrones Parkway construction.

While portions of Los Patrones Parkway may flow into Cañada Chiquita Creek north and upstream of the school, we are not aware of any evidence suggesting that flows from such improvements are, or will, negatively impact the flow capacity of the drainage improvements adjacent to the school.  Should actual documentation exist to suggest that flows from Los Patrones Parkway will substantially increase existing storm flow and overwhelm the existing drainage system, CUSD will gladly review.

Otherwise, to CUSD’s knowledge, there is no basis for suggesting that the drainage improvements at Tesoro High School create any health and safety risks for students, and in fact, such improvements were constructed to protect students, staff, and facilities from stormwater events arising from Cañada Chiquita Creek, and were approved by the California Division of the State Architect (“DSA”) and the County of Orange for such purpose.

Ryan Burris
Chief Communications Officer
Capistrano Unified School District

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June 30th, 2017 News Release

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.

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. 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.

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.

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.

“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.

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

Statement Regarding TCA and The Toll Road Extension:

April 28, 2017

We want to be very clear that CUSD is not and has not been involved with TCA or any other organization or entity regarding their planning of the toll road extension. Misinformation about CUSD has been shared that we as a District are somehow “facilitating” the plans of TCA. This is simply untrue.

We, like others, had the opportunity to meet with TCA to discuss their ideas. We learned, just like many in our community, that some of toll road extension ideas come close to existing schools. We will continue to monitor TCA and defend the facilities that serve our students.

We understand that there are strong emotions on all sides of this issue and we urge everyone in our community to check the facts before spreading misinformation. For anyone who has questions about CUSD, please contact Ryan Burris, Chief Communications Officer at (949) 234-9427 or rkburris@capousd.org.