03.28 Approved Minutes

City and County of San Francisco

DEpartment of the ENvironment




Friday, March 28, 2008, 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 Urban Forestry Council meeting was called to order at 10:30 a.m.  Present: Chair Milne, Members Blair, Boss, Griswold, Hillan, Marks, Sherk and Short.  Excused: Members Cohen, Miller, Nervo, Vice-Chair Quirke and Sustarich. Absent: Member Habert and Rodgers.


2.      Adoption of Minutes of the February 26, 2008 Urban Forestry Council Regular Meeting (Explanatory Document: Draft Minutes of the February 26, 2008 Regular Meeting) (Discussion and Action).  Upon Motion by Member Blair and second by Member Hillan, the February 26, 2008 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection.


Item 4 was heard before Item 3.


3.      Nomination of Urban Forestry Council Officers (Chair and Vice-Chair). Elections for officers shall be conducted at the meeting of the Council in April of each year.  At the Council meeting held in March of each year, any Council member interested in running for office shall state publicly his or her interest and willingness to run for a specific office.  Such Council members, and any other Council members nominated at the March meeting, shall be candidates for office (Discussion and Action). 


Chair Milne reported that the Bylaws require that nominations for officers be held at the March meeting and elections in April.  Member Blair nominated Chair Milne for Chair, seconded by Member Boss.  Member Hillan nominated Vice-Chair Quirke for Vice-Chair, seconded by Member Boss.  No other nominations were heard.  The vote is scheduled for the April meeting.  


4.      Ordinance amending the San Francisco Environment Code by amending Section 1202 to reconstitute the membership of the Urban Forestry Council to five members. Discussion and recommendations on proposed Board of Supervisors legislation on changing the composition of the Urban Forestry Council (Discussion and Action) (Explanatory Documents:  Board of Supervisors Ordinance File 080233 on Urban Forestry Council Membership and Urban Forestry Council Draft Resolution File 2008-05-UFC).



Member Sherk stated that the Council has a role advising other City agencies about the importance of trees, development and maintenance of the urban canopy, and in educating the public about the importance and maintenance of the urban canopy, forestry and trees.  Member Sherk indicated that City agency representatives bring important information on urban forestry activities from each department, and to eliminate their membership would make the Council’s role more difficult. Member Sherk stated that the development of the urban canopy is important for quality of life in San Francisco and for helping with climate change.  Member Sherk asked Council Members to urge the Board of Supervisors to maintain the current Council membership, to strengthen the Council’s work that is being done in the City, and to try to make the Council more relevant in its actions, deliberations, and advisory role. 


Member Blair asked why Supervisor McGoldrick was sponsoring the legislation.  Member Marks stated that Supervisor McGoldrick’s aide reported that (1) the Council has had more meetings cancelled because of a lack of quorum than any other body; (2) the Council took too long to report back on the Board of Supervisors’ landmark tree legislation because of an inability to meet quorum, and (3) the Council could invite department agency representatives to attend meetings instead of their being part of the membership.


Member Blair indicated that she would research how many times the Council did not have a quorum, which she believes is only once or twice at most.  Member Boss asked for statistics on meetings held and if quorum was met for the previous year. Member Hillan discussed the difficulty in reaching a quorum for this meeting as well as the meeting in January and stated that it was important to resolve quorum issues. Member Hillan indicated that department members were essential to the effective functioning of the Council. Member Boss stated that it would not be effective for the Council to reduce membership, and the commitment of members should be addressed.  Member Boss stated that inviting department representatives to randomly attend meetings may not solve the problem as relevant information is needed spontaneously during meeting discussions. It was stated that Committees would not function properly if the work of the Council was done by 30% of the current membership.  In addition, the Council currently has a wide representation which may have caused inability to reach decisions, but at the same time, relevant voices are being heard.  Member Griswold felt that disconnecting from City agency and GGNRA representation would inhibit the functioning of the Council.


Chair Milne read a statement prepared by Member Cohen.  (See Explanatory Document Statement)  


The Council adopted amendments to the Resolution proposed by Members Hillan (Hillan/Boss), Marks (Marks/Short), and Boss (Boss/Sherk).  Council Members approved the Resolution with amendments as shown in the Explanatory Document Final Resolution 004-08-UFC).  AYES: Chair Milne, Members Blair, Boss, Griswold, Hillan, Marks, Sherk and Short; Absent: Members Cohen, Habert, Miller, Nervo, Vice-Chair Quirke, Rodgers and Sustarich. 


Chair Milne reported that the Board of Supervisors Rules Committee would be hearing the proposed amendment to the Urban Forestry Ordinance on membership at their April 3, 2008 meeting at 10:00 a.m., in Room 263, Committee Room. Chair Milne asked Council Members to appear and testify.  Council Secretary Fish indicated that the Council’s Resolution would be forwarded to the Board of Supervisors Office to include in the Rules Committee Members’ meeting packet.


Member Sherk asked if the Department of the Environment has a position on this issue. 

Ms. Anne Eng, Department of the Environment Program Manager indicated that she believes the Department does not have a position on the proposed legislation; however, given the current budget deficit there is a general concern about having adequate funding for all the staffing demands and work assignments.  Ms. Eng indicated that funding had to be allocated from another program area to support the staffing costs to run the current number of meetings and that even with contributions from various City agencies, the deficit cannot be met.  Ms. Eng also discussed her history serving as an Environmental Commissioner and the similarities in its original membership to the Council’s current membership, changes that took place and what is currently proposed for the Council.


5.   Urban Forestry Council Prioritized Work Plan for 2008. Review Planning and Funding Committee’s 2008 recommendations for prioritizing Work Plan items (Discussion and Possible Action). (Explanatory Document: Prioritized Work Plan Items 2008).


Chair Milne and Member Short reported that this item had been previously discussed at the Council and Planning and Funding Committee meetings.  The Planning and Funding Committee at their March meeting prioritized the Council’s Work Plan suggestions. Upon Motion by Member Marks and second by Member Hillan, the Prioritized Work Plan for 2008 was approved without objection.


6.   Staff Report.  Staff will provide updates on Urban Forestry Council administrative and programmatic operations relating to research, planning, funding, outreach, and other related activities (Informational Report and Discussion). Ms. Hui presented updates on current work that she has been involved with that includes:


·        Creating a “google” map for all landmark trees in San Francisco.

·        The success of the February 28 outreach event that was covered by Channel 20 and the Examiner. 

·        The four trees that the Council recently approved were approved by the Board of Supervisors for landmark tree status.

·        Two new landmark tree nominations were received from homeowners. These trees are scheduled for review at the April 8 Landmark Tree Committee meeting and then at the Council.

·        Landmark tree updates have been sent to the Outreach Department to post on the website. 

·        Amendments to the Public Works Code Section 810 Ordinance (landmark tree ordinance) were approved on March 25 at the Board of Supervisors.  Amendments increase the amount of protection time that the tree has, removes the requirement for the Urban Forestry Council to hold a hearing within 60 days, increases the amount of time the Council has to respond to tree nominations from 90 to 120 days, and creates noticing requirements for Council tree nomination hearings which will require a change in the length of time between when nominations are received by Council staff and when they are heard at the Landmark Tree Committee.  

·        Ms. Hui is scheduled to make a presentation to the Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board on the landmark tree ordinance on April 16.

·        The pine pitch canker work plan item is currently being worked on. 

·        The Recommended Street Tree List will be placed on the web page as a separate document apart from the Resolution as requested by Planning and Funding Committee members. 

·        Mr. Andres Power, Urban Forest Master Plan project manager, stated that a contractor has been chosen, and Planning is currently working on the contracts.

·        Pruning Guidelines have been submitted for reprinting and should be available in the next couple of months.

·        Work has begun on an annual pruning workshop.

·        The Mayor’s Greening Director has agreed to speak to the Council at their May meeting.

·        Public comments were shared for distribution that has to do with concerns with tree planting programs having higher importance than tree maintenance, and that there is not enough funding to maintain the current number of trees in the City. 


7.   Committee Reports: (Informational Reports and Discussion)

      Planning & Funding Committee, Chair, Carla Short

The next meeting is scheduled for April 17, 2008 at 4:15 p.m. at City Hall, Room 421.  Chair Short reported that the Committee prioritized the Work Plan, held a brief discussion about proposed citywide budget cuts and how that might impact the Council and/or City departments that have a role in management of trees.  It was stated that it is likely that most departments would be affected in some way due to budget cuts, but details are not yet available.


Landmark Tree Committee, Chair, Mike Boss

The next meeting is scheduled for April 8, 2008 at 4:00 p.m. at City Hall, Room 421.

The Landmark Tree Committee did not meet in March.


8.   Chair’s Announcements: Terry Milne, Chair, Urban Forestry Council (Information and Discussion).  Chair Milne congratulated and thanked the hard work that was put into the February 28 press event for the Mary Ellen Pleasant trees on Octavia Street.  It was reported that there is an article in the paper about sidewalk landscaping---the botanical garden is giving a seminar about creating a mini urban garden on paved sidewalks.


9.   New Business/Future Agenda Items (Information and Discussion).  Ms. Hui stated that she has been holding discussions with the Planning Department about having speakers present on plans that the Council has been requesting, and a presentation may be scheduled within the next couple of months for the Eastern Neighborhood Plan. Ms. Hui stated that the Mission Plan may be more relevant for a presentation to the Council in the near future and would start working on this effort.  Ms. Hui stated that she would present reports on the artificial turf work plan item and scheduling a speaker for a future meeting.


10. 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.


11. Adjournment.  The Urban Forestry Council meeting adjourned at 11:38 a.m.


Copies of explanatory documents are available to the public at Department of Environment, 11 Grove Street, San Francisco, California between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., by clicking on the links by each agenda item above, or upon request to the Council Secretary at the address listed below, telephone number 415-355-3709, or via e-mail at [email protected].

San Francisco Department of the Environment

City and County of San Francisco, 11 Grove Street, San Francisco, CA 94102


Respectfully submitted by,

Monica Fish, Council Secretary


Approved:  April 22, 2008

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