01.26 Approved Minutes

City and County of San Francisco
DEpartment of the ENvironment
URBAN FORESTRY COUNCIL

 

APPROVED MINUTES

 Friday, January 26, 2007 at 10:00 a.m.

 
City Hall, Room 400   

One Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, San Francisco, CA 94102

 

 
1. CALL TO ORDER and ROLL CALL.  The meeting was called to order at 10:10 a.m.  Present:  Chair Milne, Vice-Chair Quirke, Members Blair, Boss, Griswold, Habert, Marks, Nervo, Sherk, Sacamano, and Sustarich.  Excused:  Members Costello, Miller and Rodgers.  Absent:  Member Cohen.  Deputy City Attorney Francesca Gessner and Urban Forestry Specialist Grace Ma were in attendance.

 

2. ACTION: Adoption of minutes of the December 8, 2006 Urban Forestry Council Regular Meeting. Upon Motion by Vice-Chair Quirke and second by Member Nervo, the December 8, 2006 Meeting Minutes were adopted without objection. (Absent:  Members Cohen, Costello, Miller and Rodgers) (Explanatory Document: Approved Minutes of the December 8, 2006 Regular Meeting)

 
Member Marks discussed his remarks noted in the Minutes (page 9) in reference to requesting legal counsel to provide a written opinion clarifying ownership of trees extending onto multiple property lines and advised that Deputy Director Assmann had explained that the Urban Forestry Council does not have a budget for City Attorney opinions other than advice received at meetings, and that this issue should be pursued through legislation action.  Member Marks advised that he would be in touch with Supervisor Peskin.  Member Marks also referenced his comments on page 17 and clarified that the full Board has to approve the nomination of the tree, have the nomination forwarded to the Council, and then back to the Board for adoption.

 

3.     PRESENTATION:   Overview of the City’s Proposed Ten-Year Capital Plan.

SPONSOR:   Member Milton Marks

PRESENTERS:
 Mr. Brian Strong, Director, and Mr. Adam Van de Water, Principal Analyst, Capital Planning Program General Services Administrator

 

Member Marks advised that this agenda item has been brought forward as a result of a Funding Committee discussion on accessing City funding beyond what is currently available primarily through either Proposition K or a segment of the General Fund.  It was stated that Mr. Ben Rosenfield, Assistant City Administrator, City Administrator’s Office and the Committee held a discussion at their December meeting on whether there were impediments to trees and urban forestry receiving money from the capital budget. Member Marks indicated that Mr. Rosenfield advised that there was a discussion with the City Capital Budget group to make this a reality, and that a representative would attend today’s meeting to talk about future funding possibilities.

 

Mr. Brian Strong discussed the City and County of San Francisco’s Capital Planning Program and stated that the City has prepared and adopted a 10-year capital expenditure plan for the first time in modern history, and this is the second year of the Plan.  An overview was presented on topics that included: (Explanatory Document:  City and County of San Francisco’s Capital Planning Program Presentation)

 

·         The Value of Capital Planning (Benefits include infrastructure maintenance, long-term planning with other agencies, long-term budget prioritization, and voter confidence).

·         Capital Planning Program Defined (10-Year Plan, Capital Planning Committee, and Staffing).  Legislation was approved in October 2005 to improve how the City plans for its capital needs, Administrative Sections 3.20 and 3.21.  Efforts are being coordinated to improve the City’s ability to pass bonds and manage the capital program.

·         Improvements during the Last Year.  The City has paid more attention to its infrastructure.

·         Fiscal Year 2008-17 Capital Plan – Terms (Deferred Maintenance Backlog (items under-funded, creating a backlog), Annual Renewal Needs (maintenance), Enhancements (modernization, improving facilities), Deferred (no money is currently identified and deferred beyond the 10-year cycle), Emerging Needs (significant programs with no costs identified or with outstanding policies, e.g. Great Streets Program, Better Neighborhood Plan).

·         Summary of Major Sources and Uses for FY 2008-17 (General Fund and Enterprise Department Programs).

 

Mr. Adam Van de Water stated that the Plan’s objective is for the City to meet its annual capital needs by 2022, e.g., keep buildings in good repair, maintain street trees, and issue publicly available debt to fill in the larger capital enhancements without raising the City’s debt level or raise property taxes.  An overview of the following topics was presented:

 

·         Assumed Financial Constraints (Renewals/Backlog, Enhancements)

·         10-Year Capital Plan – Proposed Funding for General Fund and Enterprise Departments.

·         General Fund Renewal Summary (State of Good Repair Renewal Investments, that includes approximately $20 million for street tree maintenance over the next ten years)

·         General Fund Enhancement Summary (Capital Improvement Investments).  The “Great Streets” right-of-way improvements area has a lot of street tree maintenance and landscape improvements.  This area shows as a deferred program and funds have to be identified (listed as $156 million).

·         Debt Program Proposal.  Matching funding to the need (program, completion date, financing identification, and cost).

·         Streets & Rights-of-Way Summary.  Includes street tree maintenance total of $20 million over the Plan total broken down by fiscal year and Great Streets Program currently deferred.

·         Recreation and Parks Summary

·         10-Year Capital Plan Update Schedule.  Next meetings are on February 5, 12, and 26 at noon in City Hall, Room 201.

·         Fiscal Year 2008 Capital Budget Schedule.

 

Member Marks stated that he has heard that there were legal restrictions to including trees in capital planning programs, particularly bond funded programs.  Mr. Van de Water stated that the Street Tree Maintenance Program was not included in the first year of the Capital Plan and has been added this year to fully fund the Sidewalks Program, which is closely related to street trees. Mr. Strong explained that street tree maintenance funding is being derived from General Fund dollars primarily.  The funds in the Capital Plan are only for the first five years that the trees are planted and then would revert to the Department of Public Works operating budget for maintenance. 

 

Member Marks advised that the Los Angeles City Council passed a Resolution that included trees as part of the City’s infrastructure and suggested that the Council recommend this be done for San Francisco if there are current restrictions.  Mr. Strong stated that he would report back to the Council on the issue of capital funding and trees, but indicated that there probably is no issue in spending renewal dollars on trees.

 

Member Marks inquired as to when the Council could have its greatest impact on the budget.   Mr. Strong stated that Council Members are welcome to attend or send a representative to the Capital Planning Committee meetings to address concerns, priorities and interests and that from now through April would be the best time to get involved.

 

Member Sacamano stated that the Bureau of Urban Forestry has submitted a capital request for trees last year and is included this year in the Plan.  It was stated that their staff has gone through an analysis of tree maintenance, irrigation upgrades, sidewalk repair, and all Bureau operations.  Member Sacamano explained that as a result of 6-7 years of planting, additional funding would be required for maintenance.  It was stated that capital expenditures would be a good way to bridge the gap in funding for the next fiscal year.

 

4.      INFORMATIONAL REPORT: Redevelopment Agency Staff presented an informational report on the Transbay Streetscape and Open Space Plan (Explanatory Document: Transbay Streetscape and Open Space Plan and Transbay Redevelopment Project Area Streetscape and Open Space Concept Plan distributed in Council Meeting).

SPONSOR:   Member David Habert

PRESENTER:  Mr. Michael Grisso, Senior Project Manager, Redevelopment Agency

 

Member Habert explained that a significant amount of Redevelopment Agency work is in the southeast quadrant of the City, a largely industrial warehouse dry dock railroad area.  The Plan calls for putting in infrastructure, sidewalks, trees, parks, and things that people can enjoy that would make it a habitable place.  It was stated that in future months, the Redevelopment Agency staff would be speaking to the Council about the Hunters Point Shipyard and South of Market projects as they are planting a lot of trees as part of the projects.

 

Mr. Grisso explained that the Transbay Streetscape and Open Space Plan had been embarked upon as part of their comprehensive planning process in the Transbay Redevelopment Project area.  The Redevelopment Commission approved the Plan in November of 2006 and Staff is rapidly moving toward implementation.  Topics that were discussed included how urban forestry, e.g. parks and trees fit into the Plan.  Key topics discussed included:

 

·         Project Team:  key members, agency partners, and design team.

·         Project Area that includes the Transbay Terminal and is forty acres in size

·         Transbay Zoning Plan

·         Design Objectives

·         Conceptual Framework

·         Sustainability and Accessibility

·         Folsom Street neighborhood main street plan, Howard & Mission Cross Town Boulevards; First and Fremont Transit Center Connectors; Second Historic Connector, Beale, Main & Spear Linear Park Streets, Clementina & Tehama Pedestrian Alleys.

·         Transbay Park

·         Trees—reinforce street character and pedestrian mobility

·         Materials/Furnishings/Lighting

·         Under Freeway Ramp

·         Public Art and Wayfinding

·         Mobility

·         Infrastructure

 

Chair Milne asked how many blocks would be included in the linear park.  Mr. Grisso stated that the park would go all the way from Harrison Street to Mission Street (three big blocks).  Chair Milne stated that he hoped that the Plan did not include London Plane trees because they are not good in the spring or fall seasons and have a mold problem.  Mr. Grisso stated that one tree is a London Plane tree and horticultural and planting guidelines would be considered. 

 

Member Blair recommended that the Redevelopment Agency consider tree species that could have future landmark tree status in their selection, e.g. a tree that would be a fast-growing large tree with a significant life span to be a center-point, highlight of the park.  Mr. Grisso stated that they would be happy to look at proposals at this time.  Member Blair asked that the Landmark Tree Committee consider this topic at a future meeting. 

 

Member Sherk asked if there was an opportunity to recommend tree selections and suggested creating a native habitat as part of the Plan.  Mr. Grisso stated that the Plan could be amended, but that they had looked closely as to what trees would look and do the best in the project area.  Member Sherk asked if any of the land is on fill from the Bay.  Mr. Grisso stated that almost all of the land is.  Member Sherk recommended looking at the eco- system of the Bay to determine appropriate species and to incorporate the past history of the place into future planning. 

 

Member Sacamano suggested that the Council work with Redevelopment Agency staff on incorporating an Arbor Day celebration, to plant a memorial tree, and landmark it.  It was recommended that larger size trees such as coast live oaks be planted along the boulevard, and that the Department of Public Works could work with Redevelopment Agency staff on this effort.  Mr. Grisso stated that some of the trees on Main and Beale would be going in soon as part of the Rincon Hill project, and that a consistent tree type to link the neighborhoods would be a good idea.

 

Member Boss recommended planting the mildew-resistant varieties of the London Plane tree.  It was stated that to landmark a tree that was just planted would need a compelling reason such as a gift tree from a dignitary or something cultural.  Member Boss stated that in time, all trees that have been planted have a potential to achieve landmark status.

Member Blair stated that in order to achieve a landmark quality tree, it would need space and soil and requested that a sizable tree be planted as part of the Plan.

 

5.      DISCUSSION and ACTION: The Urban Forestry Council heard the Landmark Tree Committee recommendation for a tree nominated for landmark tree status at the following address:

 

Coast Live Oak (Quercus agrifolia) at 22-26 Rosemont Terrace

 

(Explanatory Documents: Landmark Tree Nomination Form, pictures, parcel map, evaluation forms, community support letters, and written summary)

 

Member Boss stated that the Landmark Tree Committee voted to recommend landmark tree status for the Coast Live Oak and presented a report of findings (see written summary explanatory document above). Additional findings were added to support landmark tree nominations (1) neighborhood appreciation; (2) prominent landscape feature; and (3) believed to be of historical value.

 

Public Comment in Support:

 

Public Comment:  Mr. Marty Osborne, Landscape Gardener, stated that the subject tree is one of seven native trees in a grove of trees that are important to the grove, described the wildlife habitat, its visibility, and its beauty.

 

Public Comment:  Mr. Jared Braiterman, neighbor of the tree and of Mr. Osborne stated that they have estimated that the tree is 70-foot tall with a 140-foot canopy, 12-foot circumference that is believed to pre-date settlement in the Mission Dolores area.  It was stated that the tree from a historical and wildlife perspective is an incredibly unique and valuable tree that provides benefits for local neighbors and to the city and region.  There is wide support for the tree including the owner who also agreed to sponsor the landmarking of the tree.

 

Member Blair objected to emphasizing that the tree is a San Francisco native and indicated that there are 12-inch long cracks in most of the trunks.   Member Boss objected to striking the San Francisco native language from the findings.  No motion was made to amend the findings.  Urban Forestry Specialist Ma advised that the evaluation forms do not mention the cracks, and that she had not seen the cracks when evaluating the tree.  Member Blair inquired about the building to the rear of the property that may be torn down and asked if it would affect the tree. Mr. Osborne stated that it is not certain that the building would be torn down and that the issue should be to protect the tree.

 

Member Sacamano stated that the Department of Public Works strongly supports the landmarking of the tree.

 

VOTE:  Approved

At the conclusion of the discussion, the Council voted to approve the nomination and adopted written findings to support its decision to forward to the Board of Supervisors.  Upon Motion by Member Boss and second by Member Sacamano, the Council approved the nomination of the coast live oak without objection.  (Absent:  Members Cohen, Costello, Miller, and Rodgers)    

 

Chair Milne asked that Urban Forestry Specialist Ma advise the Council when the Board Committee or Board of Supervisors will be hearing this item.  Vice-Chair Quirke asked that the Council consider that the landmark tree process be streamlined by hearing from the public and then the Council taking a vote and having Council discussion only if requested. 

 

Urban Forestry Specialist Ma advised that this particular tree does not receive 180-day protection because a Department Head nomination does not receive protection status. 

 

Items 6 and 10 were heard together.

 

6.      DISCUSSION and ACTION:  Proposed amendments to the Landmark Tree Ordinance 17-06 (Amendment to Public Works Code - Section 801, landmark trees, significant trees, and penalties for violations Ordinance).  The Urban Forestry Council will vote on proposing amendments to the Ordinance.

SPONSOR:   Chair Terry Milne

SPEAKERS:  Chair Terry Milne and Deputy City Attorney Alicia Cabrera

7.      DISCUSSION:   180-Day Landmark Tree Protection Process as it relates to the Valley Oak Tree at 2830 25 th Street.

SPONSOR/PRESENTER:  Member Mike Boss

 

Chair Milne stated that he had asked Deputy City Attorney Cabrera to prepare a Resolution for the Council to consider that would avoid situations such as the valley oak tree being cut down at 2830 25th Street after the 180-day landmark tree protection expired and before the Board of Supervisors had an opportunity to designate the tree for landmark status  (Explanatory Document:  Draft Resolution).

 

Member Sacamano recommended that the Council consider amendments to the Ordinance at a future meeting and supported this Resolution to amend the Rules of Order, but indicated it was only part of the solution.  One recommended amendment would be for Department Directors to also have the automatic 180-day protection.  Chair Milne suggested that the Planning Committee prepare a list of recommended amendments to bring back to the Council to consider at a future meeting.  Member Sacamano recommended that the Council send a timeline indicating what action has to be taken along with the approval Resolution to the Board.  Urban Forestry Specialist Ma indicated that she is preparing an email to the legislative aides explaining the process and confirmed that she would be able to include a timeline with future Resolutions.

 

Deputy City Attorney Gessner advised that Supervisor McGoldrick’s office is in the process of drafting amendments and recommended that the Council initiate a process with his office to make suggestions or proposals.  It was stated that this Resolution recommending amending the Rules of Order would be a simple way of alerting the Board to prioritize the designations.  Member Blair stated that she is not clear how the Clerk of the Board could automatically calendar an item. 

 

Member Blair recommended that the Council’s approval of a landmark tree designation be considered an automatic approval of landmark designation if the Board has not taken action within the 180-day protection period.  Deputy City Attorney Gessner stated that she would research the legality of this question and report back at a future meeting.  Member Sherk suggested that Deputy City Attorney Gessner provide a report on her findings to the Planning Committee.  Member Boss recommended that a Supervisor be able to nominate a tree as a Department Head can in order to streamline the process.  Member Sherk recommended that the Planning Committee consider Items 8 and 9 at a future meeting as part of Landmark Tree Ordinance amendments.

 

Item 6 was moved to the Planning Committee to consider proposed amendments to bring back to the Council for approval at a future meeting. 

 

VOTE: Approved

Upon Motion by Vice-Chair Quirke and second by Member Sustarich, the Resolution urging the Board of Supervisors to amend its Rules of Order to provide that approved landmark tree nominations automatically be calendared for hearing before the appropriate committee of the Board was approved. (AYES:  Chair Milne, Members Boss, Griswold, Habert, Nervo, Quirke, Sherk, Sacamano and Sustarich) (NOE: Member Blair) (Absent:  Members Cohen, Costello, Marks, Miller, and Rodgers.) 

 

8.      DISCUSSION and POSSIBLE ACTION:  Tree Protection Plan.  The Urban Forestry Council will discuss and possibly vote on an informational letter to the Planning Commission urging them to require a property owner/applicant to submit a Tree Protection Plan with a building application (Explanatory Document:  Draft Informational Letter to Planning Commission)

SPONSOR/SPEAKER:  Member AnMarie Rodgers

 

This agenda item was continued to the Call of the Chair.

 

9.      INFORMATIONAL REPORT: Review of Landmark Building Incentives and How it May Apply to Landmark Tree Incentives (Continued from the December 8, 2006 Meeting). (Explanatory Documents:  Preservation Incentives)

SPONSOR and PRESENTER: Member AnMarie Rodgers

 

Member Sherk recommended that the Planning Committee include landmark tree incentives in their discussion of possible amendments to the Landmark Tree Ordinance.

 

This agenda item was continued to the Call of the Chair.

 

10.  INFORMATIONAL REPORT:  Landmark Tree Incentives Report. The Office of the Legislative Analyst produced a report on incentives to encourage nomination and designation of landmark trees.  (Continued from the December 8, 2006 Meeting.)  (Explanatory Document:  Legislative Analyst Report)

SPONSOR: Member Bonnie Ora Sherk

PRESENTER: Urban Forestry Specialist Grace Ma

 

Member Sherk recommended that the Planning Committee include landmark tree incentives in their discussion of possible amendments to the Landmark Tree Ordinance.

 

11.  INFORMATION:  Staff Report, Grace Ma. Urban Forestry Specialist Ma reported on (1) the success of the Pruning Workshop that was held on December 13, 2006 and thanked Member Costello for working on the Standards and on his presentation and Member Nervo for helping to secure the presentation space; (2) three landmark tree nominations that will be heard at the February Landmark Tree Committee and full Council Meetings; (3) work with legislative aides to clarify nomination process; (4) meeting with Chair Milne and Dan Sider, Director of City Greening to discuss long-term funding; and (5) Department of the Environment researching grant proposals and collaborating with the Environmental Justice System to leverage the two project areas’ funding in the southeast sector. 

 

12.  COMMITTEE REPORTS:

Funding Committee.  Chair Terry Milne stated that the Funding Committee did not meet in January and indicated that the most recent development was the meeting with the Director of Greening on future funding possibilities.  The next Funding Committee meeting will be on March 6, 2007 at 12:00 PM at 11 Grove Street.

 

Planning & Policy Committee. Chair Paul Sacamano stated that the Planning Committee at their January 18 meeting discussed the prioritized recommendations from the Urban Forest Plan with the intent to pull out specific objectives that could be accomplished in the near term for the Funding or Planning Committees to pursue.  A discussion was held on potentially adding to the tree species list and putting it into an educational format.  The need for landmark tree legislation amendments was also discussed.  The next meeting will be on February 15, 2007 at 4:00 PM at 11 Grove Street.

 

Landmark Tree Committee.  Chair Mike Boss stated that at the January 9 meeting, the Committee had discussed (1) issues with trees that exist at or near two different property lines in regards to legal and property rights, impact on construction projects, and potentially political issues; (2) improvements to the evaluation form; and (3) outreach programs for the nomination process.  The next meeting will be on February 13, 2007 at 4:00 PM at City Hall, Room 421.

 

13.  CHAIR’S ANNOUNCEMENTS: Terry Milne, Chair, Urban Forestry Council.  There were no announcements made at this time.

 

14.  INFORMATION: New Business.  Member Blair (1) recommended that the Council investigate the history of the few existing large trees in San Francisco and (2) advised that the Director of Greening would be speaking at SPUR on livable cities and other related topics.

 

15.  PUBLIC COMMENT:  Members of the public may address the Council on matters that are within the Council’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda.  There was no public comment at this time.

 
 

16.  ADJOURNMENT.  The Urban Forestry Council meeting adjourned at 12:46 p.m.

 

The next Urban Forestry Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, February 27, 2007 at 5:30 p.m., Room 416, City Hall.

 

 

Respectfully submitted by,

 

 

Monica Fish, Council Secretary

Urban Forestry Council

 

Adopted:  February 27, 2007

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