CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO
COMMISSION ON THE ENVIRONMENT
Tuesday, May 22, 2007, 5:00 P.M.
City Hall, Room 416
One Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102
COMMISSION MEMBERS: Commissioners Paul Pelosi Jr. (President); Johanna Wald (Vice President), Ruth Gravanis, Angelo King, Jane Martin, and Alan Mok
Commission Secretary: Monica Fish
ORDER OF BUSINESS
Public comment will be taken before the Commission takes action on any item.
1. CALL TO ORDER AND ROLL CALL. The Commission on the Environment Meeting was called to order at 5:09 p.m. Present: Vice-President Johanna Wald, Commissioners Gravanis, Martin and Mok. Excused: Commissioner King; Absent: President Paul Pelosi Jr.
2. ACTION: Adoption of Minutes of the March 27, 2007 Regular Commission Meeting (Explanatory Document: Approved Minutes of the March 27, 2007 Regular Commission Meeting.) Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis and second by Commissioner Mok, the March 27, 2007 Commission Meeting Minutes were approved with a correction in Agenda Item 7 so that the paragraph that starts with “For Action Item 8, Urban Design” the last sentence reads: “It was explained that Action 8 includes open space systems for recreation, street tree planting, as well as planting in our parks and ecological stewardship.”
3. PUBLIC COMMENTS: Members of the public may address the Commission on matters that are within the Commission’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda. Ms. Nancy Wuerfel asked that the Commission Secretary add the document/revision date to all explanatory documents at the top of the first page. Ms. Wuerfel asked for the names of new Commissioners at which time Director Blumenfeld introduced Commissioner Jane Martin, architect and landscape designer and president of Plant*SF and Mr. Darian Rodriguez Heyman, president of the Craig’s List Foundation, who will be sworn in in the near future.
4. INFORMATIONAL PRESENTATION: GreenPoint Rated in San Francisco. This informational presentation will provide a GreenPoint Rated program overview, how it works with other green building programs, a public agency perspective on program implementation, and a discussion on opportunities for San Francisco (Explanatory Documents: Memo to Commission Green Point Rated Program (Word) http://web1.sfgov.org/site/uploadedfiles/052207COEmemoGPR.doc and Presentations (PPT) http://web1.sfgov.org/site/uploadedfiles/052207BuildItGreenPresentation.ppt and Green Building Alameda County Presentation (see attachment below)
SPONSOR: Jared Blumenfeld, Director
SPEAKERS: Rich Chien, Residential Green Building Coordinator
Bruce Mast, Development Director, Build it Green
Karen Kho, Green Building Program Manager, Alameda County
Director Blumenfeld stated that the purpose of the presentation today is to start a discussion about a California and Bay Area initiative on residential green building systems both for existing and new residential buildings.
Mr. Chien stated that the purpose of the presentation is to introduce the GreenPoint Rated program and the multi-family guidelines in particular to San Francisco. It was stated that there has been a lot of discussion about green building in San Francisco, and LEED, which is available for municipal projects, is very much on everyone’s radar. Mr. Chien explained that this program addresses a need to look at residential building types whether they are single-family remodeling or multi-family projects. Mr. Chien commended the work of Alameda County for their “Build It Green” program in developing a robust and user and builder-friendly tool that has gained a lot of attention statewide for residential green building. Ms. Karen Kho and Mr. Bruce Mast were introduced as speakers.
Ms. Kho explained that the Alameda County Green Building Program was started by the Alameda County Waste Management Authority that is set up as a joint powers agency with members that include all of the cities in Alameda County as well as the county itself. Alameda County’s mandate is to establish educational programs that reduce the waste stream in Alameda County. Since a large percentage of the waste stream comes from building construction, the Board took an interest in green building. Ms. Kho explained how the green building program was established and how some of the resources that provide the basis for what is now the GreenPoint Rated Program were developed.
Ms. Kho discussed the integrated approach Alameda County has taken with member cities on not just green building but also sustainable landscaping and environmentally preferable purchasing so it covers the entire scope of the design, construction and the maintenance of new construction projects in the county. It was stated that work had begun in 2000 looking at the residential sector because that was the largest component of new construction in the county, and there were no standards in place at that time that addressed residential construction. Alameda County now has a set of tools to promote green in the county, starting with LEED for civic and commercial buildings, three sets of guidelines, and bay friendly landscape guidelines. The new home construction guidelines for single-family new construction have now been adopted throughout California, and there are over a thousand certified green building professionals that have been trained on how to use these guidelines, which is also now administered by Build it Green.
Ms. Kho distributed an abridged copy of the multi-family guidelines and stated that they would be of special interest in San Francisco as in Alameda County because this is the type of construction that will be happening in the future. There is no longer very much space left for single-family new construction and they are seeing a lot of three to five story mid-rise multi-family building taking place in the county. It was stated that they had worked closely with affordable housing developers and market rate multi-family builders in developing these guidelines and are currently in the process of updating a statewide version in partnership with Build it Green.
An overview was given of the Green Building program’s recommendations to its member cities. First, it was recommended that green building and sustainable landscaping are included and required in all municipal projects and for projects for which the city has some financial involvement or land ownership. Second, it was recommended that educational programs and incentives be used for private projects. Most of their cities have adopted these residential guidelines and LEED as reference documents for private sector projects. A few of the cities are beginning to look at incentives for those projects that achieve third party ratings, which include LEED or GreenPoint Rated.
Cities may use a GreenPoint checklist in implementing the work with private sector projects. First, it is a tool for any project team that is do-it-yourself and to see what kind of green building features you can incorporate into your project. The cities are using it as a kind of a policy tool--some of them require that all projects submit a green building checklist when a project comes in through the entitlement process; other cities are requiring a green building consultation so they have assistance in reviewing and filling out the green point checklist. There are some that are now including green building in their staff analysis, so in addition to having the checklist the Planning Commissions will receive a recommendation from staff as to the level of green building incorporated into a project. Lastly, some are including the green building checklist in the project’s conditions of approval. These are all strategies that are being used within the context of a voluntary program for private sector projects.
An overview of the different policies that have been adopted throughout Alameda County was given. Most of the cities within Alameda County have adopted residential guidelines as a basis for their green building programs, and many cities are beginning to incorporate Bay Friendly Landscaping. In addressing the residential sector, which is primarily private sector construction, Alameda County wanted to target mainstream projects, not demonstration or very super green eco homes. They wanted to find the project types that are most prevalent in the county and target their policies and programs towards that type of building. Voluntary strategies have been emphasized because they have found that building industry professionals have had better receptivity to the programs as opposed to initially hearing about a mandate. In conjunction with member cities, there are a lot of opportunities for education among city staff, elected officials and building professionals within the county. As a result, they have been able to work with a number of professional and community groups in implementing green building and that is part of the success of the program in the residential sector.
Commissioner Gravanis inquired whether wildlife friendly planting was part of the point system. Ms. Kho stated that the green building guidelines incorporate a basic set of sustainable landscaping practices so it covers various issues from water conservation to resource conservation in that appropriate plantings then do not need to be trimmed or hedged and create additional waste as well as nurturing the soil and creating biodiversity. Their agency also runs a Bay Friendly Landscaping Program, which has its own set of guidelines and evaluation tools for landscapes, which is extensive and goes into much more detail about plant selection and cultivating soil and a number of other principles.
Vice-President Wald inquired about what statistics are available on the success or impact of the program, e.g. how many buildings have been built using the guidelines and what if any environmental benefits have been obtained. Ms. Kho stated that their agency is primarily interested in reducing waste and that is how their programs are evaluated. Although it cannot be tracked one for one, a reduction has been seen in the waste stream in Alameda County. Some of the individual cities are tracking the information, but it has been difficult to track until recently when the GreenPoint Rated Program became available, because they did not want to count self-reporting as the same thing as a third-party verified project. There is a big difference between when a builder says that they are doing it on his or her own versus one that has been third party verified.
Commissioner Martin requested copies of the Bay Friendly Landscaping Guidelines and stated that in her experience, very small spaces can use the attention and creative ideas as a lot can be done with very small spaces and it makes a big difference.
Director Blumenfeld stated that Alameda County’s reasons for developing different types of guidelines for construction of buildings first had to do with waste issues which traditionally green building includes. Director Blumenfeld asked whether the guidelines were developed because LEED was not effective in this area and whether Alameda County is committed to continuously update the guidelines and how the process works. Ms. Kho stated that initially their agency attempted to promote construction and demolition recycling exclusively to building professionals and found that they were not getting that much attention. It was realized that green building was a way to reach their objectives as well as to promote a holistic approach to building. That is why they decided to promote green building and not just construction and demolition recycling. When they were starting this program in 2000, LEED was really not established as the national standard for commercial buildings. They learned from the existing programs and borrowed from the best practices that were existing in the residential sector. At that time, USGBC was not looking at residential buildings and it did not look like anything was coming out any time soon and found that California has more stringent state requirements than just about any other state in the country.
Ms. Kho stated that their agency is committed to continuing to work on updates to the guidelines, which they now do in conjunction with Build It Green. Until the point the state government decides they want to take on this role, they are committed to continuing to maintain the guidelines every three years in conjunction with the Title 24 cycle.
Director Blumenfeld stated that one of the matrix categories included that in some cities they require that the guidelines be implemented as a condition of approval at which point they cease to become guidelines and become conditions of approval. Director Blumenfeld asked what the experiences are of those counties and which counties they are. Ms. Kho stated that one of the cities is Dublin. What they have done is they require that all projects submit a GreenPoint checklist and when that checklist is submitted, it is considered as part of the Conditions of Approval. The Planning Commission will look to what is on that checklist as to what they expect the project to implement. It is up to the Building Department to monitor and verify that what has gone in the checklist has been implemented.
Commissioner Martin asked if the checklist is required to be submitted, or if a passing grade on the checklist is required. Ms. Kho stated that the checklist is required to be submitted and they do not have an official policy requiring a particular score, but project applicants are told that the Commission prefers to see projects that have at least 50 points. Commissioner Martin asked if it is possible to require that a checklist be used in order to educate people on what they could be doing. Ms. Kho stated that most of the cities just require that the checklist be filled out as an educational tool.
Vice-President Wald asked if any cities have considered advancing in the permit queue people who not only have completed the checklist but also have made commitments to the guidelines or other standards. Ms. Kho stated that a couple of cities are looking into it, but none of them have implemented expedited processing for green projects at this time.
Mr. Bruce Mast discussed how the GreenPoint Rated program works, how local governments are leveraging the tools that it provides for their policies and incentives, and how cities are leveraging the resources that the Green Building Program in Alameda County has developed and taken statewide. It was stated that most of the programs and services Build It Green offers have been developed, piloted, and incubated in Alameda County and has been a successful collaboration.
Mr. Mast described Build it Green, it’s working relationship with local governments and introduced the GreenPoint Rated program, how it works, why it exists, and how it interfaces with state policies. It was emphasized that it is a California program and it fits with state policies. A discussion was held on how the program interfaces with LEED for homes and how it is a tool for quantifying green house gas emissions.
Mr. Mast explained that Build it Green is a non-profit organization whose roots trace back eight years to what was then called the Green Resource Center founded in Berkeley in 1999. The entire mission is to promote green buildings and healthy and energy-efficient building practices throughout California. The focus is on the residential sector because the U.S. Green Building Council has been so successful in addressing the commercial and civic arenas it was felt that there was a need for grassroots training and education directed to residential building professionals, the associated production chain, to homebuyers and homeowners. Tools include education and outreach. Building professionals, the public, and local government turn to them as a trusted source of information that they know is objective and unbiased.
The Strategic Plan’s goal is to green 10,000 housing units by the end of 2008, in which four objectives have been identified to succeed in this goal. The first objective focuses on the public sector, working with local governments to develop credible green building policies and to make sure that there are consistencies in those policies. The next two objectives focus on the production chain on the private sector, training building professionals so they know how to build green and to ensure that green products and technologies are available in the marketplace. The fourth one is stimulating demand for green building by educating consumers about the benefits of green building so they can make informed choices.
Build it Green works with more than 70 local governments in the state of California through their public agency councils. A Bay Area chapter was established about three years ago. A second chapter was launched about a year and a half ago in Southern California and a third is scheduled to launch in the Central Valley. Build it Green also works directly with public agencies on a case-by-case basis on matters such as policy development, education and staff training. The public agency council provides a forum for local governments to meet each other, share information, establish a common agenda, and work together.
Mr. Mast stated that local governments are taking tangible steps to promote green building in their community. Build it Green has benchmarked what cities and counties are doing to develop tangible incentives of various forms that are tied to green building guidelines or the GreenPoint Rated results. Incentives may include fast track permitting, direct financial incentives, technical assistance, and discounts or fee waivers on permit fees.
Deputy Director Assmann asked if only 22 agencies out of the entire state of approximately 500 local government jurisdictions are participating. Mr. Mast stated that there are a number of other local governments that do not show up in the survey, but these were the cities that reported offering some kind of tangible benefit. Other cities are taking a different approach to green building, e.g. there are cities that are putting specific green building language in the General Plan or they are writing an ordinance mandating green building or attaching it to their Conditions of Approval. There are different strategies. The key is they are all tying in these policies to a common definition of green so no matter where you go the ground rules are all the same.
Mr. Mast introduced the GreenPoint Rated Program whose roots trace back to 2000 when Alameda County first developed these guidelines. For the past couple of years, they have been working on developing verification and training protocols for green point raters. This last September they launched the green point rated consumer label, which was launched at West Coast Green, one of the biggest Green Building conferences that was held at the Bill Graham Civic Center in September. It was stated that GreenPoint Rated is a consumer label which helps consumers understand the benefits of green building and making informed choices and decisions in the home market place and is backed up by an independent verification process, which is the source of its credibility. It is a California focused program and is tied to California regulations and to our climate. It is advantageous for builders because it helps them differentiate themselves in a soft market. As a non-profit, it helps them answer how many green homes are out there, as well as helping local governments with the same question.
Commissioner Martin asked if the 22 municipalities referenced are mostly in the Bay Area. Mr. Mast stated that the biggest traction is mostly in the Bay Area because they have been able to operate now for about six years with funding from PG&E for green building education that was targeted to the Bay Area. They are now rapidly getting new traction in the Central Valley, the Los Angeles Basin, and in Southern California.
Mr. Mast stated that GreenPoint raters are the foundation of this program and make it work. It was stated that raters are required to have prior building industry and green building experience and are provided with a rigorous training process and are certified by Build it Green. They are independent building contractors who do not work with Build it Green and they contract with their clients to do the rating services and submit their results to Build it Green, who then reviews and issues a certificate to the homeowner or builder. The basis for the certificate goes back to the checklist that Ms. Kho discussed. In order for it to be a green home, the rater needs to find 50 points plus specific minimum point thresholds in each category. The ratings reflect practices above code in California.
It was stated that the label was launched in September and in just the seven months since then, a couple of hundred units have completed the program and are fully certified. It was estimated that there are a couple of thousand units in the pipeline throughout various areas in California. The focus now is on new construction. A set of rating protocols is being developed for existing homes and remodeled projects. Real estate professionals see it as an essential tool to make green building an important part of every home resale.
Mr. Mast discussed how the program fits in with state policies such as Title 24. Title 24 is the State Energy Standard and constitutes what is an acceptable level for energy performance for a new building. Build it Green benchmarks their energy points to Title 24 as the Energy Efficiency Programs do.
Additional discussions included:
· How the program serves affordable housing through funding;
· Green criteria for the tax credit process;
· Green Measures for TCAC Basis Boost and how TCAC Measures Earn Green Points;
· GreenPoint Rated program working in tandem with LEED. The key difference is that LEED for homes is a national program standard and award to the greenest of the green builders. GreenPoint Rated provides a credible and acceptable point of entry for a builder that needs to take smaller steps.
Mr. Mast stated that Build it Green is taking the results from the checklist and information from the raters and translating that into kilowatt hours and therms saved, gallons of water and green house gas emissions avoided. This will be an informational resource that Build it Green will be able to report back to participating cities on a routine basis.
Mr. Rodriguez Heyman asked for further discussion on Build it Green’s connection with non-profit networks. Mr. Mast stated that the non-profit networks are not as active as some of their other councils, but the idea is to work with a broad range of environmentally-oriented non-profits that had a mission that overlapped in some fashion with green building to get them collaborating on a joint vision and harness their communication networks to send the message to the public.
Commissioner Martin stated that she was surprised that buildings that qualify for LEED would definitely qualify for the GreenRated Program but that not all but some of the Green Rated Program buildings would qualify for LEED. Mr. Mast stated that LEED has 15 mandatory requirements, and the GreenPoint Rated Program has three. Commissioner Martin asked if the GreenPoint Rated Program is looking at different categories. Mr. Mast stated that the GreenPoint Rated Program is more manageable for an entry-level builder. Credit would be given for items that are required by LEED, but are not mandatory requirements.
Commissioner Martin stated that often the cost to administer the LEED programs makes it so people do not participate at all. Commissioner Martin asked if this was a statewide program. Mr. Mast stated that it is a statewide program and they have no ambitions to go outside of California. Commissioner Martin asked what the cost was to administer the program checklist for a sample project. Mr. Mast stated that if you are a builder developing a 30-unit multi family project, the estimate from raters would be that they would charge that builder from $120 to $150 a unit for the units in that development. Build it Green would be paid $25 from that fee to cover administrative and certificate processing fees. Commissioner Martin stated that was significantly less than participating in a LEED program.
Commissioner Martin asked if there are criteria for a company to become a sponsor. Mr. Mast stated that to be a sponsor from the private sector you have to demonstrate that if you are a supplier, you have a green product or if you are a building professional, that you have a green commitment and are trained as a green building professional. Local governments do not have criteria. PG&E is listed because they are a silver sponsor that has contributed $7500 to help market their energy efficiency programs. Especially, for large corporations, when Build it Green puts out their sponsor literature, it is tied to that green product that they are offering.
Vice-President Wald stated that the Natural Resources Defense Council participated in the development of LEED, has two LEED office spaces, one LEED building and is trying to get more. Vice-President Wald stated that she is worried about the dilution of the LEED brand with programs like the GreenPoint Rated Program and other less credible efforts. Vice-President Wald asked Mr. Mast to explain his statement that this program is good for people when they are just getting started and to describe the mechanism by which people who are participating in the “just getting started program” are transferred to LEED.
Mr. Mast stated that the equivalency tool is that mechanism: it allows projects to be evaluated as to how close they are to qualifying for LEED and is part of the raters’ professional training so they are acting as a coach and mentor with the builders in helping them make each project progressively greener. When raters are trained, the relationship with LEED is explained and that they are working in tandem and want really green homes to be LEED for homes. The trainers encourage raters to attain credentials so they can participate in the LEED for Homes program so the more overlap is, the easier it works and a relationship is also developed with builders. Candidates are being identified as candidates that are ready to take on LEED, but for those that are not ready to take on LEED, there is a beginning point.
Mr. Mast stated that other people proliferating could be a challenge at the national level. He has seen that some people are using the language that LEED is not good enough but what they want to see is a watered down version of LEED that has the status quo. Vice-President Wald asked if Mr. Mast would be prepared to criticize other efforts in other jurisdictions that look like they were trying to water down what LEED is trying to do or that are not as rigorous as what Build It Green is trying to do. Mr. Mast stated there are different requirements for green building from different organizations, e.g. the National Association of Home Builders has guidelines that, for the most part, are perfectly fine set of guidelines, but they do not include measures on indoor air quality and sustainably-harvested lumber – at least partly because the chemical and forestry industries have helped develop that program. Also, that program does not include third party verification method—it is just a checklist. There are National Association of Home Builders programs around the country, which are green building programs and may be greener than what is there before, but is not what Build it Green is doing.
Public Comment: Mr. Jake Wagman, Citizen’s Housing, local non-profit developer, asked if there are different gradations in the GreenPoint Rated System, such as in LEED that has Gold, Platinum and Silver. Mr. Mast stated that a point value is used with the minimum point threshold at 50 points, but the Certificate shows the actual point value. They just had a home on their green home tour that scored 202 points, which is the highest that has been seen at this time. When combined with the relationship with LEED for homes and when the builder is progressing and transitioning to LEED and going to LEED Silver, Gold, and Platinum, is when you get the tiered result.
5. DISCUSSION AND ACTION. Summary of revised Rodenticide Policy and Resolution approving the 2007 Reduced Risk Pesticide List (Explanatory Documents: (PDF) 2007 Reduced Risk Pesticide List http://web1.sfgov.org/site/uploadedfiles/2007ReducedRiskPesticideList.pdf; (PDF) Pesticides Changed in 2007 Reduced Risk Pesticide List http://web1.sfgov.org/site/uploadedfiles/PesticidesChangedin2007ReducedRiskPesticideList.pdf; (Word) Draft Resolution File No. 2007-03-COE Approving Reduced Risk Pesticide List for 2007 http://web1.sfgov.org/site/uploadedfiles/ResFile2007-03-COEApprovedPesticideList.doc; (Word) Summary of Least Hazardous Rodent Management Activities http://web1.sfgov.org/site/uploadedfiles/ProposalCOEMay07ver2.doc).
SPONSOR: Jared Blumenfeld, Director
SPEAKER: Chris Geiger, Toxics Reduction Program
Mr. Chris Geiger stated the Reduced Risk Pesticide List is presented to the Commission annually and is used to restrict which products are used on all City lands. It was explained that the goal of the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program is to reduce the use of hazardous pesticides on City lands as well as to maintain effective pest management. In order to so, a system has evolved over the past ten years, which has been successful.
Dr. Geiger explained that when the IPM Ordinance was passed in 1996, it was first worded as a complete ban on all pesticides and it was then realized that it was not advisable or possible for a lot of reasons. The word pesticide includes not only insecticides but includes disinfectants that are used in hospitals and a lot of other chemicals that needed to be available when circumstances dictated so. The Ordinance evolved into a system of exemptions for particular products.
The IPM program consists of a group of IPM coordinators from seven departments in the City and other interested parties that participate in a monthly meeting for a problem-solving session. It has created a corporate culture and a shared set of goals. The list is reviewed every year, product by product, to see what is really needed, what hasn’t worked, what is too hazardous, and alternatives that have not been considered. Once that process has been completed, a public hearing is scheduled (that was held in January of this year) to discuss further changes and then it is brought to the Commission for approval.
Dr. Geiger stated that the list is being presented later than usual because of several concerns about rat baits and rodenticides and its effect on wildlife. The packet includes a Summary of Least Hazardous Rodent Management Activities for San Francisco that gives a summary of experiences on rodent management in the program. Highlights of this explanatory document were presented (see the link above). It was explained that there are no significant changes on this year’s list from the 2006 list except for the rodenticide limitations and the addition of one soap-based insecticide.
Mr. Heyman asked if anything is being done to provide incentives or encourage the creation or utilization of better alternatives to the chemicals that are currently being used. Dr. Geiger stated that while he does not know of financial incentives, there is the shared goal of reducing hazards. Because of the incident with the hawks and the new data that is available on the rodenticide products, the Recreation and Park Department is putting out a modified type of snap trap. The Department of the Environment is in various conversations about garbage cans and ways to reduce habitat and food in the parks, but is lacking staff and money to make it happen quickly. Dr. Geiger recommended installing garbage cans with lids that rodents and birds can’t get into, increasing outreach and enforcement about not feeding wildlife, and then using mass rodent trapping as a method of last resort.
Mr. Heyman asked if the Department is in communication with the chemical companies letting them know that we are not able to use these chemicals and to advise them that if they were able to identify greener alternatives, they could make more money and establish a better relationship. Dr. Geiger stated that he has talked to a fair number of companies on the telephone, and that the best communication has been through comment letters to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on pesticide re-registrations, which have been accomplished with good results on several chemicals recently.
Commissioner Gravanis stated that she appreciates the concern with not killing raptors as it seems extremely likely that rodenticide was the cause for the incidents that occurred in Golden Gate Park, without the actual proof being established. Commissioner Gravanis stated that she appreciates the need for special exemptions for sewers and certain commercial establishments, but is concerned with whether or not there should be more stringent requirements on how they are used, e.g. concern was expressed with the use of single feed poisons in the sewer lines. It was asked whether the rats that eat the poison while they are in the sewer end up getting processed with the sewage and become part of the biosolids that are being dealt with. Dr. Geiger stated that he does not have data on this topic and explained the baiting process indicating that it is not easy for it to get washed away. Non-toxic baits are being put out to monitor the areas that have the rats so they can come back and put the toxic product in if necessary.
Commissioner Gravanis asked if the rodenticide would be a problem for aquatic life when combined sewage overflows into the bay. Dr. Geiger stated that to his knowledge it is not an aquatic hazard but is not sure what happens in the rat and will report back with additional details if requested. Commissioner Gravanis stated she would be interested in PUC guidelines. Commissioner Gravanis asked if a rat that eats poison in a commercial establishment could get outside before it dies and then become potential prey for a raptor. Dr. Geiger stated that the behavioral trait that they use to sell these products, which is presumed to be true, is that they are supposed to burrow in some place hidden. They head for water and generally try to leave the building, which is a good thing, as they do not get stuck between the walls. According to contacts in the industry, they did not feel it is a significant hazard if it is adjacent to a building, but in parks, there are more wide-open spaces and more of a chance for exposure. It was explained that there are some situations when the Health Department closes down restaurants because of an infestation of rats, and there are cases where trapping won’t work in a restaurant depending on the configuration of the building. In those cases, there would be use for the rat bait.
Commissioner Martin recommended encouraging natural predators as a means for pest management. Dr. Geiger stated that no one has been able to quantify how well this would work. Work has been done with barn owls and gophers. PUC is getting ready to install nesting boxes near one of its dams and are looking for students to help monitor gopher populations. They put some barn owl boxes in Golden Gate Park a few years ago, but there was a problem with them as they included perches on the boxes. A barn owl box should not include a perch as it allows crows to get inside, so there was a design problem with that option. Other ideas are being explored to encourage predatory birds in the park, and there are certainly a lot there.
Commissioner Martin stated that she has been to a water treatment plant and has no confidence that the chemicals in that animal or outside of the animal would be treated. It is not something that the water treatment plant currently is fielding for so it does end up in the waterway, and if it is a hazard to mammals, it is a hazard to fish life as well. If not, there should be literature on the topic. Commissioner Martin asked if the list applies to citywide or city-owned property. Dr. Geiger stated that the City is allowed to regulate pesticide use only on City-owned lands and includes leased lands if the lease was signed after 1996.
Commissioner Gravanis suggested that there could be things that can be done to buildings that are under construction that will make it more rat proof. Dr. Geiger stated that he is trying to establish more pest prevention into design guidelines. It was stated that a meeting was just held on that subject with the University of California and the Pest Control Industry. Construction sites are very important because rodents in the area start moving around and create problems for adjacent properties. A lot of pressure has been used to use baits under those situations.
Public Comment: Ms. Nancy Wuerfel expressed her concern that we would be moving forward with more reclaimed water in our parks and in the environment in general and asked how the poisons would be handled in reclaimed water. It was stated that since there is no way to remove the pharmaceuticals, it is assumed that the poisons cannot be removed either. Ms. Wuerfel indicated that there will be a long list of issues that the PUC has to deal with and all of us have to think about because as we interact with each other and we start using reclaimed water, we will be reclaiming everything that goes into the water.
Director Blumenfeld stated that the Integrated Pest Management Program in the past five years has reduced the amount of pesticide used in absolute terms by about 63% and has reduced all of the most toxic chemicals on the list completely. The Department’s goal and mandate is to reduce to the greatest extent possible toxic materials while balancing other needs and play that role weighted towards the environmental benefits of other methodologies.
Commissioner Martin asked what would happen if the Resolution did not pass. Director Blumenfeld stated that the current list cements in place the emergency action on the hawks and other animals. Vice-President Wald stated that the list that is considered for adoption is more protective than the current system.
Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis and second by Commissioner Mok, Resolution File No. 2007-03-COE Approving the Reduced Risk Pesticide List for 2007 was approved without objection (AYES: Vice-President Wald, Commissioners Gravanis, Martin, and Mok; ABSENT: President Pelosi Jr. and Commissioner King).
6. DISCUSSION AND ACTION: The Commission will discuss and consider approving proposed grants for the Department of the Environment’s Environmental Justice Program (Explanatory Documents: (Word) Draft Resolution File No. 2007-04-COE approving Environmental Justice Grant Awards http://web1.sfgov.org/site/uploadedfiles/FileR-2007-04-COEApprovalEJGrants.doc and (Word) Environmental Justice Staff Funding Recommendations http://web1.sfgov.org/site/uploadedfiles/SF%20fundingrecommendationsforEJgrants2007.doc).
SPONSOR: Jared Blumenfeld, Director
SPEAKER: Anne Eng, Environmental Justice Program Manager
Ms. Eng requested approval of eight new Environmental Justice grants as reflected in the Funding Recommendations explanatory document above. It was explained that the Environmental Justice Program staff consists of Anne Eng, Sraddha Mehta and Raymond Manion who perform (a) grant management services by providing up to $500,000 in grant funding annually; and (b) providing direct services in connection with special projects, focusing on food security, energy, and diesel pollution issues. Ms. Eng stated that a few months ago, a Request for Proposal (RFP) was issued, 14 proposals were received, and eight applicants were interviewed and evaluated. The evaluation process was amended and structured based on the City’s Controller’s Office recommendations.
Director Blumenfeld explained that the Department had two grant making processes that were integrated. The Environmental Justice and Recycling Programs issued a joint RFP simultaneously. There was overlap in the evaluation panels and the scoring criteria. The grant RFP was sent to the contact lists of both grant programs and Department staff and outside evaluators ranked initial proposals. The Department met with the Controller’s Office on the process who signed off and agreed on this RFP and evaluation process. It was stated that the grant evaluation process resulted in receipt of strong proposals and ensured more transparency and coordination between Environmental Justice and Recycling programs.
Vice-President Wald asked if this is the first year that the criteria are being used. Director Blumenfeld stated that there are two sets of criteria, one is Recycling Impound related and the other is Environmental Justice criteria developed for the grant funds derived from a 1998 $13 million settlement serving the Bayview and Potrero neighborhoods. Ms. Eng explained that in earlier funding cycles, Department staff, Commissioners, and community residents participated in the grant evaluation process. This funding cycle included a more structured program where only one Environmental Justice staff person was on the review panel for the written proposals and the oral interview process. The other members included professional grant managers from the Department and a member of the Mayor’s Office of Housing who is involved in low-income issues. The panel was expanded and a benefit was seen.
Ms. Eng explained that three of the proposed grant awards relate to solar energy that include:
· All Hallows Community Center, a senior and disabled housing complex on Oakdale Avenue.
· GRID Alternatives, which provides solar installation on low-income homes.
· San Francisco Food Bank which in the earlier cycle had received energy efficiency grant funding and now has come back to develop a solar project to compliment PG&E funding.
Four of the projects relate to community gardens or food systems that include:
· Alemany Resident Management Corporation, which basically oversees the Alemany Farm. They will be linking Bayview residents to that farm and selling at the Bayview Farmers Market.
· Community Alliance for Family Farmers which proposes to support a Farmers Collaborative in support of the Farmers Market and to bring fresh local produce to Bayview institutions.
· Quesada Gardens Initiative, a community based grass roots organization that has developed a community garden and wants to expand into food production; and
· A school garden project at Willie Brown Jr. School in the Bayview.
In addition, there is one proposed project focusing on air pollution:
· Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice proposes to reduce diesel emissions by doing community policing of idling trucks and helping to conduct community education workshops on diesel pollution.
Mr. Heyman asked if only a select number of agencies received the RFP. Ms. Eng stated that the RFP is not targeted to a select group, is open, posted on the web and has a wide distribution list. Mr. Heyman asked about Literacy for Environmental Justice and ARC Ecology who were not reflected on the list of grantees. Ms. Eng stated that ARC Ecology did not submit an application this funding cycle, but did receive funding in previous cycles. It was stated that Literacy for Environmental Justice did apply for funding for its front door farms program, but was not able to submit a written proposal that received a score of 60 or higher. Ms. Eng stated that the Environmental Justice Program is still working with Literacy for Environmental Justice on the Living Classroom Project.
Commissioner Mok asked how much time was allocated for each interview. Ms. Eng stated that each interview was about 45 – 50 minutes and that a couple of days were spent on interviewing and scoring.
Commissioner Martin acknowledged the Quesada Gardens project and asked if Plant*SF, the organization that Commissioner Martin represents was listed as a co-sponsor of the grant. Ms. Eng stated that Renaissance Parents for Success was listed as a fiscal sponsor.
Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis and second by Commissioner Mok, Resolution File No. 2007-04-COE approving Environmental Justice Grant Awards has been approved without objection (AYES: Vice-President Wald, Commissioners Gravanis, Martin, and Mok; ABSENT: President Pelosi Jr. and Commissioner King).
7. DISCUSSION AND ACTION: The Commission will discuss and consider approving proposed grants for the Department of the Environment’s Recycling Program (Explanatory Document: Draft Resolution File No. 2007-05-COE approving Recycling Grant Awards and Funding Recommendations for Grant Awards (Word) http://web1.sfgov.org/site/uploadedfiles/ResFileR-2007-05-COEApprovalZWGrants.doc (Word) http://web1.sfgov.org/site/uploadedfiles/ZWrecommendation2007-08tocommission.doc.
SPONSOR: Jared Blumenfeld, Director
SPEAKER: Kevin Drew, Recycling Program Coordinator
Mr. Drew stated that the Recyling Program engaged in an extensive evaluation of applications and discussed the success of the process. It was stated that there were 23 applications totaling about 2.1 million dollars,and 17 were awarded for a total of $808,000. Mr. Drew explained that several large proposals had not been funded and that Recycling Program staff will work with the applicants to refine their proposals as a part of a grant development process. The 17 projects represent about 7000 tons of diversion with over 50% allocated to reuse or composting. Mr. Drew described the grant awards as reflected in the Funding Recommendations for Grant Awards explanatory documents above.
Mr. Heyman encouraged the Department to consider allocating a small portion of its budget to colloborative proposals earmarked for grant requests and proposals that encompass multiple agencies working together towards that common goal. Mr. Drew stated that people are welcome to bring colloborative projects forward, but funding has not been allocated for this effort at this time.
Commissioner Mok asked about the disposition of the difference between the 2.1 million dollars and the $808,000 that was actually funded. Mr. Drew explained that the $808,000 is the amount that is in the budget this year and may be different next year depending on what is approved by the Board of Supervisors. Applicants that were not granted awards this year are able to reapply next year.
Commissioner Martin confirmed that the funding amount equals approximatley $115 per ton and asked if the rate is consistent with what has been seen in the past. Mr. Drew stated that it is fairly consistent, but it goes up and down depending on how large of a scale a project there is from one year to another. It was explained that it has been in the range of $100 a ton for the last number of years and there have been years where it has been lower.
It was stated that It is about $300 a ton to take material to the landfill, and slightly less than that to take it to the compost facility because it is very much the same activity, the same trucks, the same distance. You don’t have to pay to throw it into the ground, but you do have to spend money to process it. Mr. Drew explained that it is in the high $200’s range and recycling is about the same because the equipment and cost of processing is substantial even though some of it is offset by the value of the material when you sell it and it is recycled. All of activities are less expensive than what is done through the traditional garbage system provided by Norcal.
Commissioner Gravanis acknowledged Department staff for their efforts on the grant process and is pleased that many of the projects are focusing more on reduce and reuse rather than just recycling and composting.
Upon Motion by Commissioner Mok and second by Commissioner Martin, Resolution File No. 2007-05-COE approving Recycling Grant Awards was approved without objection (AYES: Vice-President Wald, Commissioners Gravanis, Martin, and Mok; ABSENT: President Pelosi Jr. and Commissioner King). .
8. DISCUSSION AND ACTION: Controller’s Office Proposed Impound Account Guidelines (Explanatory Document: Use of Impound Account Funds (Word) http://web1.sfgov.org/site/uploadedfiles/2007Use%20ofImpound%20Funds3.doc).
SPONSOR: Jared Blumenfeld, Director
SPEAKER: David Assmann, Deputy Director
Deputy Director Assmann stated that the Use of Impound Account Funds document was created in 2003 and has been updated to include the 2006 Refuse Rate Process, the Controller’s Performance Evaluation, the Budget Process, and the Strategic Plan. The current document incorporates specific elements of the Strategic Plan and the Controller’s Performance Evaluation recommendations to more specifically outline the types of projects that can be funded by the Impound Account. The Department has received a City Attorney opinion on the use of Impound Account funds for the use of Environmental Justice projects. In addition to outlining the specific programs that can be funded by the Impound Account, caps have been put on the percentage of the Impound Account that can be used for individual project areas. There are four program areas that are funded by the Impound Account:
· Zero Waste programs that include reduction, reuse and recycling, and composting in order to meet the mandates of the California Integrated Waste Management Board, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors 75% goal and zero waste goal by 2020. There are no limits on the amount of Impound Account funding for Zero Waste projects.
· Toxics Redution programs which includes hazardous waste collection programs and all other programs to help keep toxics out of the landfill. The limit is that no more than half of the Impound Account can be spent on Toxics Reduction programs.
· Green Building programs that have a direct overlap with diverting material from the landfill in terms of construction and demolition debris and in the use of recycled materials. It was determined that only green building programs that relate directly to preventing waste from going to the landfill and those that reduce toxic materials and construction can be paid for by the Impound Account with no more than 10% of the Impound Account used for green building projects.
· Environmental Justice. The Impound Account can only be used to fund appropriate impound projects that meet the guidelines of the opinion by the Deputy City Attorney, and no more than 10% of the Impound Account can be used for environmental justice projects.
The final restriction is that no more than 25% can be used for administrative expenditures. Incorporated into the guidelines are the Department’s Strategic Plan and elements of the Five Year Plan that was submitted as part of the Refuse Rate process.
Mr. Heyman inquired whether 100% of personnel costs are included in the Administration allocation. Deputy Director Assmann explained that personnel costs that are reflecrted in the administrative part of the budget include rent, administrative staff, computer staff, accounting staff, infrastructure, and Commission. This figure Includes all costs of administering programs that can be considered administrative or program related as they are similar. Mr. Heyman stated that if a bookkeeper is working on bookkeeping for a program, it would be counted as a program-related expense or at least that portion would be split between different areas. Deputy Director Assmann stated that type of expense would be considered an administrative expense and would not be allocated to the program.
Commissioner Gravanis inquired about Action 22, working with the Mayor’s Office and the Board of Supervisors to introduce policies regarding bags, food service, etc. and stressed the importance of including product labeling so items are not placed in the wrong bin. Commissioner Gravanis corrected the word “incentivizes” as not being a verb and recommended defining the term eco-product to state environmentally sound products or products that minimize harm to the environment.
Vice-President Wald stated that all text that addresses the programmatic goals should state that it is subject to change every year if the Strategic Plan changes. Deputy Director Assmann recommended revising the document to state, “activities funded by the Impound Account for Zero Waste, Toxics Reduction, Green Building, and Environmental Justice programs include but are not limited to the activities in the Department’s Strategic Plan which will be updated annually.”
Public Comment: Ms. Nancy Wuerfel proposed amendments that include:
· Page 2, Impound Account Summary. Ms. Wuerfel stated that she attended the rate hearings when Deputy City Attorney Sandler stated that the 1932 Ordinance was silent on the Impound Account and suggested removing the sentence that states that the 1932 Ordinance gives authority to the Impound Account that was established in 1978.
· Page 2, Impound Account Summary. On the bullet point that states “Programs related to green building, pollution prevention, energy conservation and environmental justice that are directed towards solid waste.” Ms. Wuerfel stated that the two terms of pollution prevention and environmental conservation were specifically included in the City Attorney’s Opinion in 2001 and are inconsistent with other statements in the document in the Administrative Section. The City Attorney in 2001stated that the money for the refuse rate proceeds should be used for programs and services related to refuse services or solid waste management. It was even clarified to state for instance, if an outreach position splits time between recycling and energy efficiency outreach, the refuse rate proceeds could be used to fund a portion of the time, referring to the recycling time and specifically excluding the energy efficiency time. Ms. Wuerfel requested that this point be deleted.
· Page 4: The Environmental Justice Program is to convert refuse and recycling vehicles to cleaner fuel has already been included in the rates and is not appropriate to assign that job to Environmental Justice when it is being paid for in the rates directly.
· Ms. Wuerfel stated that she is in favor of setting caps, but the way the document is worded, the maximum percentage of Impound Account adds up to 195%. What should be stated is “maximum percentages of program budgets charged to the account” and requested a discussion on this topic.
· Clarify the 25% amount charged to the account versus the amount charged to overhead. Is the 25% to include all of FTE based overhead or is in addition to it and requested discussion on the amount of overhead to be charged.
Director Blumenfeld stated that when funding is received from the Air District to fund Norcal, the Department spends a lot of time to get the money to convert Norcal’s vehicles, but the Air District grants do not include administrative overhead. As a result, the Department is doing the work to convert Norcal’s fleet, but does not have anywhere to bill it to.
Deputy Director Assmann stated that on Ms. Wuerfel’s point that the maximum percentage of Impound Account adds up to 195%, that you cannot go over 100% and things will fluctuate annually, but the intent is to protect the Impound Account to make sure that you don’t disproportionately spend out of the Impound Account for any particular area. The amount adds up to more 100%, because there is a fluctuation from year to year. Deputy Director Assmann clarified that overhead expenses are included in administration.
Ms. Wuerfel asked if the 100% cap in Recycling would mean that in any given year, Recycling will receive 100% of the Impound Account and noone else will get anything. Deputy Director Assmann stated that the budget cannot go over 100%, but the Department may choose to prioritize funding for Recycling in any given year and not do anything for other programs as a result. Director Blumenfeld stated that if the Commission wanted to put all of the Impound Account funds towards Recycling, that would be a legitimate use of the Impound Account. Deputy Director Assmann explained that grant or other funding may be received to fund projects that then wouldn’t need money from the Impound Account as a result. It was stated that grants had been received for Zero Waste projects so not all funding is received from the Impound Account.
Director Blumenfeld explained that this guideline protects the Impound Account from inappropriate expenditures by putting in caps on things that have areas that could fall outside of the Impound Account. The Department is committing that once this policy is in place, none of these lines will be exceeded.
Director Blumenfeld requested that the Impound Account Guidelines document include a date, to and from, and page numbers.
Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis and second by Commissioner Mok, the Impound Account Guidelines were approved with amendments. (AYES: Vice-President Wald, Commissioners Gravanis, Martin, and Mok; ABSENT: President Pelosi Jr. and Commissioner King).
9. INFORMATIONAL REPORT: Department of the Environment’s implementation of the Controller’s Office Audit Report Recommendations (Explanatory Document: Controller’s Office Audit Report Recommendations and Department of the Environment’s Implementation Status Report (Excel) http://web1.sfgov.org/site/uploadedfiles/COAuditRecommendationImplementation2007.xls and Memo to Supervisor Elsbernd on Implementation of Audit Recommendations (Word) http://web1.sfgov.org/site/uploadedfiles/SupeElsberndAuditUpdateMay2007.doc)
SPONSOR: Jared Blumenfeld, Director
SPEAKER: David Assmann, Deputy Director
Deputy Director Assmann reported on the Controller’s Office Audit Report Recommendations and actions taken by the Department of the Environment as reflected in the explanatory document above. It was stated that the report contained 21 recommendations. Eleven of the recommendations were related specifically to grants and the grant-making process. At this time, 16 of the 21 recommendations are either implemented or in process, 2 will be implemented before the end of June, and the remaining three will be implemented in the new fiscal year as they cannot be implemented in this fiscal year. The 11 related to the grant process relate to procedures that are in place and are reflected in a new grants procedure manual.
Commissioner Martin asked whether in Recommendation 18 it costs $140,000 to administer the program. Deputy Director Assmann stated that if you include all of the costs of the FTE and overhead, it could cost that amount. It was indicated that the Department is trying to streamline the process, make it more transparent, and use existing staff rather than hiring a new person. By reorganizing and reallocating and putting new procedures in place, it would not be necessary to hire a new grants coordinator.
Mr. Heyman asked to specify in general numbers how much is base compensation and what the other costs are. Deputy Director Assmann stated that overhead costs on a per FTE basis is about $48,000. Benefit costs are about 30-35% of a person’s salary. The salary for a 5640 level employee ranges from $50,000 to $70,000, another 30% on benefits, and $48,000 on all overhead costs. Mr. Heyman asked if encouraging collaborative grant proposals would exist in the context of this document or other policies or what the appropriate mechanism would be to advance that idea. Deputy Director Assmann stated that it would be appropriate to incorporate it in the Grants Procedures Manual to encourage a set aside for collaborative projects. Vice-President Wald stated that it could be made one of the criteria to give extra weight to collaborative proposals. Deputy Director Assmann stated that part of the Procedures Manual is the RFP itself, and it could be incorporated by giving it extra weight or by setting aside a certain percentage, and it could be started with the next grant cycle in the next few months.
10. INFORMATION: Commission Secretary’s Report (Word) http://web1.sfgov.org/site/uploadedfiles/CommissionSecretaryReport(1).doc
Ms. Rachel Buerkle, Acting Commission Secretary
Communications and Correspondence
Update on Pending City Legislation
The Commission Secretary Report was included in the packet (explanatory document above).
11. INFORMATION: Operations Committee Report
▪ Chair’s Report: Commissioner Mok will highlight the meeting of Wednesday, April 18, 2007 and review the agenda for the upcoming meeting on Wednesday, July 18, 2007, at 4:00 p.m., 11 Grove Street, Eco-Center Conference Room.
A report was not given at this time and Draft Minutes from the April 18 meeting were referenced for review.
12. INFORMATION: Policy Committee Report
▪ Chairs Report: Commissioner Wald will highlight the Meeting of Monday, May 14, 2007 and will review the agenda for the upcoming meeting on Monday, June 11, 2007, 5:00 p.m. to be held at City Hall, Room 421.
Commissioner Gravanis reported that three speakers addressed the problems related to the sale of bottled water at the May 14 meeting and the Committee plans to continue the discussion at the next meeting.
13. INFORMATION: Director’s Report (Word)
Ms. Nelly Sun, Senior Management Assistant to Jared Blumenfeld, Director, Department of the Environment will give updates on SFE administrative and programmatic operations relating to Budget Planning, Strategic Planning, Climate Division, Outreach and Education Division, Environmental Justice Division, Zero Waste, Toxics Reduction Program, and the Urban Forestry Division.
Director Blumenfeld reported that the Department of the Environment’s Budget would be heard tomorrow at the Board of Supervisors Office at 11:00 a.m. as Item 13 on the agenda. It was stated that the United Nations employee who was in the Department of the Environment’s Office is no longer in the office on a permanent basis and will be coming in temporarily less than a day a month and using shared space.
14. PRESIDENT’S ANNOUNCEMENTS. There were no President’s announcements at this time.
15. INFORMATION and DISCUSSION: New Business/Future Agenda Items. Commissioner Martin requested that the black bar be removed from the letterhead on agendas.
16. PUBLIC COMMENTS: Members of the public may address the Commission on matters that are within the Commission’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda.
Ms. Nancy Wuerfel stated that the Department has had a lot of volunteers that were part of the need to increase the space at 11 Grove and asked how many people would be housed as volunteers. Deputy Director Assmann stated that there are about 12 active volunteers right now and that the numbers change. It was reported that there were approximately 100 people working on the Neighborhood Outreach campaign in the Sunset, so it can vary from 10 to 100 depending on the activity. Ms. Wuerfel confirmed that 100 people would not actually be housed at the Department. Deputy Director Assmann stated that there are part-time volunteers that share space and their time overlaps, and that there are approximately four spaces that are used on a rotation basis.
17. ADJOURNMENT. The Commission on the Environment Meeting adjourned at 7:59 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by,
TEL: (415) 355-3709
FAX: (415) 554-6393
** Copies of explanatory documents are available at (1) the Commission’s office, 11 Grove Street, San Francisco, California between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., (2) on the Commission’s website https://sites.google.com/a/sfenvironment.org/commission/environment-commission as attachments to the meeting agenda or minutes, ;(3) upon request to the Commission Secretary, at telephone number 415-355-3709, or via e-mail at [email protected].
Adopted: July 24, 2007
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