02.27 Approved Minutes

City and County of San Francisco
DEpartment of the ENvironment
 Urban Forestry Council

 

APPROVED MINUTES

 

Tuesday, February 27, 2007 at 5:30 p.m.

City Hall, Room 416   

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

 

 

1.      CALL TO ORDER.  The meeting was called to order at 5:40 p.m. 

 

2.      ROLL CALL.  Present:  Chair Milne, Vice-Chair Quirke (5:42 p.m.), Members Blair, Boss, Cohen, Costello, Habert, Sherk (5:42 p.m.), Miller, and Sustarich.  Excused:  Members Griswold, Marks, Nervo, Rodgers, and Sacamano. 

 

3.      ACTION: Adoption of minutes of the January 26, 2007 Urban Forestry Council Regular Meeting.  Upon Motion by Member Boss and second by Member Sustarich, the January 26, 2007 Meeting Minutes were approved (AYES:  Chair Milne, Members Blair, Boss, Cohen, Costello, Habert, Miller and Sustarich; Absent:  Vice-Chair Quirke and Members Griswold, Marks, Nervo, Rodgers, Sherk and Sacamano) (Explanatory Document: Approved Minutes of the January 26, 2007 Regular Meeting)

 

4.      DISCUSSION and ACTION: The Urban Forestry Council heard the Landmark Tree Committee recommendations for trees nominated for landmark tree status at the following addresses:

 

holly (Ilex altaclarensis) at 733 27th Avenue (Explanatory Documents: Board of Supervisors Resolution of Intent to Nominate, Nomination Form, Support Documentation, Staff Evaluation Form, Petition, Photos).  

 

California buckeye (Aesculus californica) at 730 28th Avenue (Explanatory Document: Board of Supervisors Resolution of Intent to Nominate, Nomination Form, Support Documentation, Petition, Photo).  

 

New Zealand Christmas Tree (Metrosideros excelsus) in front of 1221 Stanyan Street (Explanatory Documents: Department of the Environment Nomination Form, and Photos).

 

Other Explanatory Documents:  Landmark Tree Committee Evaluation Forms (PDF) and Written Summaries).     

 

At the conclusion of the discussion, the Council voted on whether to approve, reject, or not take action on the nominations and shall adopt written findings to support its decision (if required) to forward to the Board of Supervisors.  

 

Chair Milne explained the Urban Forestry Council’s process for reaching a decision on each of the nominated trees.  It was stated that there would be a staff report, Landmark Tree Committee report, owner and adjacent property owner testimony, public comment, and discussion and vote by the Council, who then forwards their recommendation to the Board of Supervisors as required.  Landmark Tree Committee Chair Boss indicated that it is the Committee’s job to determine if the nominated tree merits landmark status based on how well it meets specific pre-determined criteria.  It was explained that the Landmark Tree Committee does not handle property rights and disputes. 

 

holly (Ilex altaclarensis) at 733 27th Avenue

 

Urban Forestry Specialist Ma stated that the official nominator of the tree at 733 27th Avenue is Supervisor McGoldrick and showed photos of the holly tree.  Ms. Ma’s evaluation form is included in the meeting packet.

 

Landmark Tree Committee Chair Boss advised that the Landmark Tree Committee at their February 13 meeting voted to recommend against landmark tree status as they felt it did not meet enough of the significant criteria.  Testimony was received at the Committee meeting from the property owner who spoke neither for nor against landmark tree status.  Chair Boss stated the Committee’s reasons for not granting landmark tree status as reflected in the Explanatory Document Written Summary above

 

Property Owner Comment:  Ms. Laurie Quach stated that her intention is to expand her property, not to harm the tree.  Ms. Quach asked that the tree not become a reason to obstruct property expansion or a cause for disputes.  A discussion was held on the accuracy of the age of the tree.  Ms. Gina Quach and Ms. Sharon Quach asked that the Council not support the landmarking of the tree.  Ms. Laurie Quach spoke of her concern of costs for maintaining a tree with landmark status, and asked the Council if they could provide advise during renovation.

 

Adjacent Property Owner Comment:  Mr. Doug Schultz, 729 27th Avenue, spoke of neighborhood support of landmark status for the holly tree and the petition that was submitted.  Mr. Schultz stated that he was not notified of the Landmark Tree Committee meeting until the day of the meeting, and asked that this issue be brought back to the Landmark Tree Committee in order to have a fair hearing.  A discussion was held about the Urban Forest Plan and how the nomination meets those objectives and noted the historical significance of the tree.  Mr. Schultz advised that trees had been cut down on the property without notice, and showed pictures from various viewpoints. 

 

Chair Milne explained that the Committee is a way to have members survey and evaluate the tree and report to the Council.  It was stated that the Council is having a full hearing today in order to hear testimony, and there is no procedure to send issues back to the Landmark Tree Committee.  It was explained that agendas are sent to nominators and owners listed on the nomination forms, and that Mr. and Mrs. Schultz’s name did not appear on the nomination form.  A discussion is currently being held on amending the Ordinance to revise notice requirements in the future.

 

Adjacent Property Owner Comment:  Ms. Valerie Louie, 730 28th Avenue, spoke in support of landmark tree nomination and expressed her concern with San Francisco not maintaining its greenness.  Ms. Louie discussed her effort in obtaining signatures for the neighborhood petition and spoke of neighborhood support for landmark status.

 

Adjacent Property Owner Comment:  Ms. Cheryl Schultz, 729 27th Avenue, showed pictures of the tree from various neighborhood viewpoints.  A packet of historical information was submitted on the homes in the neighborhood.  Ms. Schultz spoke of reasons for retaining the tree, e.g. the rarity of holly trees in San Francisco, natural privacy screen, wind barrier, pollution control, and cultural and historical value.

 

Public Comment:  Mr. Roy Leggitt, Consulting Arborist, spoke on the importance of holly as a cultural plant.  The Council was asked to examine a piece of wood and an explanation given on how growth rings could be counted to determine an approximate age and how environmental factors could influence the determination.  Mr. Leggitt stated that assumptions could not be made that the tree is 40 years old; it could be older and feels that it is from the same period of significance as the architecture and cultural history of the neighborhood.

 

Public Comment:  Ms. Jean Barish, neighbor, spoke in support of landmark status for the holly tree noting specific qualifying criteria, e.g. rarity, age, neighborhood appreciation, and protection against erosion.  Ms. Barish spoke of her work in the neighborhood planting trees in an effort to green the neighborhood. The Council was asked to preserve the neighborhood urban forest by landmarking this tree.  Ms. Barish advised that the Department of Public Works instructed the owners not to cut down trees and they were cut down anyway.

 

Public Comment:  Chair Milne read a statement for Ms. Eleanor Robinson, neighbor, in support of landmark status for the holly and buckeye trees on 27th Avenue.  It was indicated that Ms. Robinson was concerned that trees in the neighborhood should be protected from possible destruction, and the holly and buckeye trees are not only visually attractive, but provide habitat for creatures and maintain the current quality of life in the neighborhood.     

 

Member Boss discussed the scale infestation that was seen on the tree and further discussion was held on determining the age of the tree.  Mr. Leggitt stated that treating the scale infestation would not present a problem and discussed methods for determining the approximate age of a tree.  Member Cohen stated that property owners should be honored to have a landmark tree on their property.  Member Boss stated that the holly would be an ideal candidate for a significant tree if that were an option. 

 

Vice-Chair Quirke asked about the Department of Public Works Report that Ms. Barish was referring to.  Mr. Schultz explained that there was a complaint about overgrowth and underbrush on the property that was creating a habitat for rodents.  The Department of Public Health asked the property owner to remove the brush and vines, but not to cut down any trees.  It was stated that the area was cleaned, but the trees were cut down.  Ms. Quach explained that it was determined that other fruit trees in the neighborhood also contributed to the rodent problem.  Vice-Chair Quirke discussed the ongoing need to improve the landmark process. 

 

Member Blair spoke in support of landmark status.  Member Sherk advised Ms. Quach that the Council’s Planning Committee would be exploring homeowner incentives for landmarking trees and asked that if this tree were to be landmarked that the owner be helped with the care of the tree as she moves forward with her renovation.

 

VOTE: 6-4 (Motion did not pass) Without Recommendation to the Board of Supervisors

Member Cohen motioned to approve the landmark status of the holly (Ilex altaclarensis) at 733 27th Avenue, second by Member Blair. (AYES: Members Blair, Cohen, Habert, Miller, Sherk, and Quirke   NOES:  Chair Milne, Members Boss, Costello, and Sustarich) (Absent:  Members Griswold, Marks, Nervo, Rodgers, and Sacamano)

 

Chair Milne stated that the Council will send a letter to the Board of Supervisors advising them that the Council did not landmark the tree nor did it turn it down, and the Supervisors will have the final decision on determining landmark status.

 

Member Miller left the meeting at this time.

 

California buckeye (Aesculus californica) at 730 28th Avenue

 

Landmark Tree Committee Chair Boss stated that at the February 13 Landmark Tree Committee meeting the Committee voted to approve landmark tree status as explained in the Explanatory Document Written Summary above.

 

Property Owner Comment:  Ms. Valerie Louie, property owner, spoke of her enthusiasm for owning a landmark quality tree and her plan to provide future care.  It was stated that the previous owner was a renowned botanist that wrote several books.  Ms. Louie expressed her support for planting additional trees in the neighborhood. 

Public Comment:  Mr. Roy Leggitt spoke in support of landmarking the California buckeye tree and stated that landmarking is important to consider in light of the California Environmental Quality Act that protects indigenous species such as the buckeye, which is part of a natural eco system.

 

Public Comment:  Ms. Jean Barish spoke in support of landmark status as the tree contributes to the beauty of the urban forest that is visible from the neighboring community.

 

Public Comment:  Ms. Cheryl Schultz spoke in support of landmark status and stated that a famous botanist, Ms. Gladys Lucille Smith, lived in the house for over 50 years. A picture was shown of one of Ms. Smith’s slides donated to the California Academy of Sciences of a buckeye that Ms. Schultz believes to be that of the subject tree.

 

Public Comment:  Mr. Doug Schultz spoke in support of landmark status and stated that the tree is rare, beautiful, magnificent when in bloom, and contributes to the neighborhood.

 

Members Cohen and Sustarich recommended that the holly tree be pruned appropriately so as not to harm the California buckeye.  Member Blair recommended that the Council look at the California buckeye and California bay between Willard and McAllister that are in close proximity to each other and are doing fine. Member Sherk advised that California buckeyes’ normal habitat is to grow in close proximity to many other species of trees. 

 

Vote: 9-0 Recommend Landmark Tree Status

Member Boss recommended the California buckeye (Aesculus californica) at 730 28th Avenue for landmark tree status, second by Member Blair.  (AYES:  Chair Milne, Vice-Chair Quirke, Members Blair, Boss, Cohen, Costello, Habert, Sherk and Sustarich; NOES:  None) (Absent: Members Griswold, Marks, Miller, Nervo, Rodgers, and Sacamano)

 

New Zealand Christmas Tree (Metrosideros excelsus) in front of 1221 Stanyan Street

 

Landmark Committee Chair Boss stated that at the February 13, 2007 Landmark Tree Committee meeting, the Committee voted unanimously to approve landmark tree status for the subject tree as noted in the Explanatory Document Written Summary above.  It was stated that the last point on the Written Summary was noted in error.

 

Public Comment:  Mr. Keith Zygeis spoke in support of landmark status.

 

Urban Forestry Specialist Ma indicated that the property owner that fronts the tree had been notified of the nomination, but has not responded.  It was stated that the tree is a street tree.

 

VOTE:  8-0 Recommend Landmark Tree Status

Member Boss motioned to recommend landmark tree status for the New Zealand Christmas Tree (Metrosideros excelsus) in front of 1221 Stanyan Street, second by Member Habert.  (AYES:  Chair Milne, Vice-Chair Quirke, Members Boss, Cohen, Costello, Habert, Sherk and Sustarich; NOES:  None) (Absent: Members Blair, Griswold, Marks, Miller, Nervo, Rodgers, and Sacamano)

 

5.      DISCUSSION and ACTION:  The Council considered and voted on a revised evaluation form for trees that have been nominated for landmark status. (Explanatory Document: Evaluation form February 2007)

SPONSOR/SPEAKER:  Member Mike Boss

 

Member Boss stated that the original Evaluation Form was not in agreement with the Urban Forestry Council Criteria for Landmark Tree Evaluation.  It was stated that the revised form is only an effort to make the evaluation forms mimic the items and language of the criteria.  Member Boss stated that not all criteria can be filled out by evaluators at the time of the site visit.  It was advised that the Landmark Tree evaluation criteria will be reviewed at a future Landmark Tree Committee meeting and the evaluation form would be changed again as a result.

 

Member Cohen recommended that language reflect arboriculture language and made recommendations on the age and historical categories.  Member Costello recommended that the age category be used for entering approximate age instead of condition.  Member Blair recommended additional considerations for the rare category. 

VOTE:  Revised Landmark Tree Evaluation Form Approved (9-0) (6 Absent)

Upon Motion by Member Costello and second by Vice-Chair Quirke, the Revised Landmark Tree Evaluation Form was approved with the stipulation that the form would be reviewed again at a future meeting date and presented back to the Council for approval. (AYES:  Chair Milne, Vice-Chair Quirke, Members Blair, Boss, Cohen, Costello, Habert, Sherk, and Sustarich; NOES: None) (Absent: Members Griswold, Marks, Miller, Nervo, Rodgers, and Sacamano)

 

6.      DISCUSSION and POSSIBLE ACTION:  Discussion of proposed amendments to the Landmark Tree Ordinance being planned by Supervisor McGoldrick’s Office and discussion and possible action on Planning and Policy Committee recommendations.  (Explanatory Document:  Planning and Policy Committee Recommendations and Landmark Tree Ordinance, Draft Resolution and Deputy City Attorney Memo.) 

 

Urban Forestry Council Chair Milne advised the Council that a meeting was held with Supervisor McGoldrick, Deputy City Attorneys Malamut and Gessner, and himself to discuss Supervisor McGoldrick’s plan to propose amendments to the Board of Supervisors Rules of Order and the Landmark Tree Ordinance as follows:

 

Amend the Board of Supervisors Rules of Order:

 

·         Urban Forestry Council’s Resolution to amend the Rules of Order to provide that approved landmark tree nominations automatically would be calendared for hearing before the appropriate committee of the Board after a recommendation is received from the Urban Forestry Council.

 

Amend the Landmark Tree Ordinance:

 

·         Introduction of a landmark tree be by a Board of Supervisors motion of intent to nominate as opposed to a resolution in order to forward the tree to the Urban Forestry Council for a hearing in a more-timely manner.

 

·         A Board of Supervisors designation of a tree to a landmark is done by an Ordinance and the 180-day temporary landmark tree designation shall be extended an additional 40 days to cover the ten days that the Mayor has to sign or veto the ordinance as well as the 30 days following the Mayor’s signature until the ordinance takes effect.

 

·         Set forth specific notice requirements on potential landmarks for affected property owners.

 

Vice Chair Quirke explained that the Resolution that the Council would be voting on also includes a request that Department Heads and Property Owners who nominate a tree have the same landmark tree protection as the Board of Supervisors.

 

Member Costello left the meeting at this time.

 

Members Blair and Cohen recommended a future amendment that if the Board of Supervisors does not act on an approved nomination within the designated protection period, that the tree would be automatically landmarked.  Member Sherk asked that incentives for landmarking trees be discussed in future amendments. Chair Milne stated that this Resolution would not preclude future amendments to the Ordinance.

 

VOTE:  Approved (8-0) (7 Absent)

Vice-Chair Quirke motioned to approve the Resolution, second by Member Cohen.

(AYES:  Chair Milne, Vice-Chair Quirke, Members Blair, Boss, Cohen, Habert, Sherk and Sustarich; NOES:  None) (Absent: Members Costello, Griswold, Marks, Miller, Nervo, Rodgers, and Sacamano)

 

7.      INFORMATION: Urban Forestry Specialist Report, Grace Ma. Ms. Ma provided updates on UFC administrative and programmatic operations relating to funding, planning, research, outreach, and related activities.

 

Urban Forestry Specialist Ma reported that the Department of the Environment is going through the 2007-08 budget approval process, which will be discussed at the next Funding Committee Meeting.  Chair Milne and Ms. Ma are reviewing long term funding strategies for urban forestry in San Francisco, and a meeting was held with Mr. Dan Sider, Greening Director.  It was reported that the Planning Department is coordinating a series of meetings for the Better Streets Program, and Ms. Ma will be meeting with the Planning Department to discuss how the Urban Forest Plan will be incorporated into the Better Streets Plan.  Member Rodgers has been reassigned within the Planning Department and a new Planning Department representative will be assigned to the Council.  It was reported that Supervisor Dufty would sponsor the nomination of the Coast Live Oak at Rosemont Place that was approved by the Council.  Ms. Ma reported on pending nominations by Supervisor Dufty for seven trees at 3184 Market Street and a Coast Live Oak at 23rd Avenue.  Ms. Ma announced that Arbor Day is March 10 and four events are being held.

 

8.      COMMITTEE REPORTS:

 

·         Funding Committee - Chair

The next meeting will be on March 6, 2007 at 12:00 PM at 11 Grove Street.

Chair Milne reported that Ms. Ma had reported on Funding Committee activities in the Urban Forestry Specialist Report.

 

·         Planning & Policy Committee, Chair, Paul Sacamano

The next meeting will be on March 15, 2007 at 4:00 PM at 11 Grove Street.

Planning Committee Member Quirke reported that Member Boss had presented a letter to the Planning Committee on his recommendations for additional amendments to the Landmark Tree Ordinance that is included in the meeting packet. 

 

·         Landmark Tree Committee, Chair, Mike Boss

The next meeting will be on March 13, 2007 at 4:00 p.m. at City Hall, Room 421.

Chair Milne stated that the criteria would be reviewed at the next meeting.  Member Boss stated there was nothing additional to report.  Chair Milne asked whether the fig tree would be nominated at the next Landmark Tree Committee meeting on March 13.  Ms. Ma indicated that the due date for scheduling agenda items was on February 26.

 

9.      CHAIR’S ANNOUNCEMENTS: Terry Milne, Chair, Urban Forestry Council.  Chair Milne announced the kick-off for Arbor Day on March 7, 11:00 a.m., located on Precita and Army Street.  The Department of Public Works is planning to plant a ceremonial tree.  Council Members were invited to attend.

 

10.  INFORMATION: New Business.  There was no new business discussed at this time.

 

11.  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.

 

12.  ADJOURNMENT.  The Urban Forestry Council meeting adjourned at 8:27 p.m.

 

 

The next Urban Forestry Council meeting is scheduled for Friday, March 23, 2007 at 10:00 a.m. in Room 400, City Hall.

 

Respectfully submitted by,

 

Monica Fish, Council Secretary

Urban Forestry Council

 

Adopted:  March 23, 2007

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