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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 12, 2017

The Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) is aware of numerous claims being made relative to its ownership of certain real property at Tesoro High School.  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.  In order to address these claims, with supporting documentation, CUSD is providing the following responses:


1. 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.


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2. 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.

CUSD, however, is also aware of certain discrepancies in County Records that reflect RMV Middle Chiquita, LLC, as the record owner of Parcel -82.  It appears this derives from a 2004 grant deed from DMB San Juan Investment North, LLC, recorded with the County of Orange as Document No. 200400098175 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, through legal counsel, has thus ordered a title report for Parcel ‑82, to formally review this apparent conflict in ownership records, so that the discrepancy can be addressed.  Ultimately, DMB San Juan Investment North, LLC, could not convey property it did not own, and CUSD records reflect that CUSD owned Parcel -82 at such time.


3. Do the Ownership Discrepancies Relative to Parcel -82 Impact Current Grading Activities?


No.  The apparent cloud on title relative to Parcel -82 needs to be resolved, and CUSD is actively working with legal counsel to do so.  At this time, however, there are no grading activities on Parcel -82.  When CUSD stated that no grading activities relative to the Los Patrones Parkway project are occurring on CUSD property, Parcel ‑82 was included within that statement.  CUSD is monitoring grading activities in this regard.

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


4. Is Los Patrones Parkway Connecting to Tesoro Creek Road?

No.  CUSD is aware that the original plan for Los Patrones Parkway (a.k.a. “ ‘F’ Street”) planned for a connection to Tesoro Creek Road.  CUSD is currently reviewing whether any authority or granted right would have supported such a connection.  Regardless, based on the F Street Addendum to County Final Environmental Impact Report Nos. 584 and 589, the approved alignment for Los Patrones Parkway, which is now under construction, will not connect to Tesoro Creek Road, but rather will connect to Oso Parkway (to the north) in the general alignment assumed for SR-241.


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5.  Is Los Patrones Parkway being constructed within 500 feet of Tesoro High School?

Grading for the roadway appears to be within 500 feet of the tennis courts at Tesoro High School, as well as portions of the football field and parking lots.  The actual location of the final roadway is not known by CUSD, but the F Street Addendum to County Final Environmental Impact Report Nos. 584 and 589 refers to the roadway as being located 650 feet from the high school.  CUSD is working to obtain copies of proposed improvement plans to verify actual distance between the nearest edge of traffic and the nearest point at Tesoro High School.


In either case, neither the Education Code, nor Public Resources Code provide for a restriction on the construction of freeways or busy traffic corridors within a specified distance of a school.  And even when siting new schools, neither the Education Code nor the Public Resources Code prohibit such construction near a freeway or busy traffic corridor (defined as roadways with more than 100,000 average daily trips in urban areas), but rather require a health risk analysis when such is proposed.


Such requirements did not exist when Tesoro High School was built.  Nevertheless, the impacts of a SR-241 Toll Expressway were considered in the Tesoro High School environmental impact report, though the school site configuration was different than that existing today.  The Tesoro HS EIR concluded, based on analysis, that the future carbon monoxide (CO) levels from the adjacent SR-241 expressway on the high school were not anticipated to exceed the 1-hour or 8-hour CO state and federal standards, and thus did not result in a health hazard to students.


In the Tesoro HS EIR, specifically Exhibit 27, the then-proposed SR-241 extension was projected at 47,000 average daily trips by 2020.  By comparison, the F Street Addendum forecast 39,000 average daily trips in 2035, on the comparable segment of Los Patrones Parkway between Oso Parkway and Chiquita Canyon Drive.  In both cases, the average daily trips are significantly lower than the 100,000 average daily trip threshold for urban areas, and even the 50,000 average daily trip threshold for rural areas, necessitating a health risk assessment when siting new schools.

CUSD will monitor future environmental impact reports for any proposed SR-241 Extension and, as appropriate, raise concerns relative to the need for health risk assessments relative to any of its schools along such routes, including Tesoro High School.


6. Are the soils near Tesoro High School and Los Patrones Parkway toxic?

CUSD has not conducted any independent soils testing on the Rancho Mission Viejo property, or any of the property where Los Patrones Parkway is being constructed.  That said, to CUSD’s knowledge, neither the Tesoro EIR, which included soils testing for the high school site, nor Rancho Mission Viejo’s environmental documents, found issues with toxic or hazardous soils.


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7. What can be done about fugitive dust and impacts at Tesoro High School?

If fugitive dust is observed from grading on Los Patrones Parkway affecting Tesoro High School, individuals may contact Ryan Burris at CUSD directly, at (949) 234-9308, and CUSD will investigate.  Alternatively, individuals may also contact the South Coast Air Quality Management District directly at (800) 288-7664 or online to file an air quality complaint.


8. Can CUSD refuse to issue building permits to Rancho Mission Viejo, to stop development?

No.  CUSD is not vested with the jurisdiction or authority to issue (or deny) building permits.  Such authority is the jurisdiction of the County of Orange with respect to the Rancho Mission Viejo development.  As part of the school developer fee process, developers are generally required to obtain certificates of compliance from CUSD reflecting the payment of the appropriate school fees before the County will issue a building permit.  CUSD’s discretion in such regard is generally limited to whether the required fee (or in lieu mitigation) has been paid, consistent with CUSD’s fee justification study, school facilities needs analysis study, or agreements with developers, as applicable.  CUSD cannot refuse to issue a certificate of compliance to stop development.

Ryan Burris
Chief Communications Officer
Capistrano Unified School District

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

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