08.26 Approved Minutes

City and County of San Francisco

DEpartment of the ENvironment

URBAN FORESTRY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING

DRAFT MINUTES

 

Tuesday, August 26, 2008, 5:30 p.m.

City Hall, Room 416  

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 5:30 p.m.  Present: Chair Milne, Members Blair, Boss, Cohen, Griswold, Habert, Hillan (6:20), Miller (6:05), Nervo, and Short. Excused: Vice-Chair Quirke, Members Marks, Rodgers, Sherk and Sustarich.

 

2.        Adoption of Minutes of the July 25, 2008 Urban Forestry Council Regular Meeting. (Discussion and Action) Upon Motion by Member Blair and second by Member Nervo, without objection, the July 25, 2008 Meeting Minutes were approved (Absent: Vice-Chair Quirke, Members Hillan, Marks, Miller, Rodgers, Sherk and Sustarich) (Explanatory Document: July 25, 2008 Approved Minutes).

 

3.        Chair’s Letter to the Board of Supervisors on the proposed legislation to change the membership composition of the Urban Forestry Council.  (Continued from the July 25, 2008 Meeting) Explanatory Documents: Chair’s Letter and Board of Supervisors Proposed Legislation) (Discussion) SPEAKERS:  Council Chair Milne and Deputy City Attorney Alicia Cabrera

 

Chair Milne reported on the previous proposal to change the Council’s membership composition to five voting and five advisory members, which the Council objected to.  After several reiterations, the proposal is now for eleven voting members and four advisory representatives.  The Government Audit and Oversight Committee voted to approve the proposal for recommendation to the Board of Supervisors to consider at their meeting on or after September 9.  Chair Milne reported that he had presented his letter of approval to the Board of Supervisors before the Committee meeting (see explanatory document above).

 

Member Cohen asked whether the Supervisors responded to Council members’ questions regarding providing substantive reasons for wanting to reduce Council membership.  Chair Milne reported that it was explained that the Council needed to be more efficient and to be able to make quorums easier, so a smaller number would be easier to make quorums. Member Blair inquired how Committee membership would work with a smaller number of members.  Chair Milne responded that would be worked out after the legislation is passed. 

 

Chair Milne inquired as to when the legislation would take effect.  Deputy City Attorney Cabrera reported that she does not currently know when the legislation would be heard at the Board of Supervisors; however, if they were to hear the item at their September 9 meeting, the legislation would require a second reading before the Ordinance is officially passed.  Chair Milne asked what the last paragraph of the legislation would mean to current members.  Deputy City Attorney Cabrera reported that once an Ordinance has a second reading and is passed by the Board of Supervisors it is moved to the Mayor’s Office, who has ten days to sign the Ordinance. At that point, the Ordinance is either signed before the ten days or it is signed by operation of law after the ten days, so it is either vetoed or not. That becomes the effective date of the Ordinance.  However, this Ordinance is subject to referendum, which means that the voters can take an action to not have this Ordinance passed up to 30 days after the Mayor’s action on the Ordinance. Thirty days after is when the Ordinance will be officially effective.  Under Section 2 of the Ordinance, it says on the 30th day following the effective date of this Ordinance, the current members initially will all be removed, so it would require a new appointment process for everyone.  If a member is not reappointed and there is no reappointment to that seat, the current member would remain in their seat for an additional 60 days after the expiration date because of a new Charter amendment that was passed last November. 

 

Chair Milne explained that department representatives do not go through the Board of Supervisors appointment process and are appointed by their department heads.  Member Blair asked if a new application form would have to be submitted and when that would be and asked if members would be notified when the next public hearing would be.  Ms. Fish reported that she believes the Board of Supervisors office retains applications for a year and could possibly be reactivated upon request.

 

Member Habert inquired what it would mean to change from a voting to an advisory member.  Chair Milne explained that the Council would have to work on a definition or explanation.  Member Short asked whether the department head would have to reappoint the designee.  Deputy City Attorney Cabrera stated that the Department head would be required to issue an appointment letter.   Chair Milne asked that Coordinator Hui keep Council members informed about the Board of Supervisors’ meeting dates on this item and on applicable dates regarding reappointments and membership.

 

4.        Hearing on Nomination for Landmark Tree Status. The Council will hold a hearing to determine whether the following tree meets the criteria for designation as a landmark tree: (Discussion and Action) PRESENTER: Landmark Tree Committee Chair Mike Boss

 

Lombardy Poplar (Populus nigra) located at 501 Octavia, corner of Hayes Street, Assessor’s Block 0807, Lot 004 (approximate) (Explanatory Documents:  Nomination Forms, Evaluation Form, and Pictures 501 Octavia Landmark Packet, RL Arborist Public Comment; MB Evaluation Form and Landmark Tree Committee Written Findings).

 

At the conclusion of the hearing, the Council will vote on whether to approve or reject the nominations and shall adopt written findings to support its decision.  The Council will forward approved nominations to the Board of Supervisors for further consideration.

 

Landmark Tree Committee Chair Boss reported that the Landmark Tree Committee met on August 12 to consider the nomination of this tree for landmark status and voted unanimously 3-0 against recommending landmark tree status.  It was explained that the Committee thought the tree was a wonderful tree and commended the presenter for taking an interest in the tree and the city’s urban forest; however, it was felt that this particular tree did not rise to the status of a landmark.  The Committee was happy to note that the tree was able to have some protective status as a street tree and hope to see that actions will be taken to help protect this tree.  Member Boss stated that the tree did not meet landmark status on any of the larger, particular items such as species, size, historical, or ethnic aspects.

 

Ms. P.J. Dayacamos, initiator of the nomination, reported that the tree had been planted in the 1960’s or 70’s, provides a habitat for birds and insects, and described maintenance that she had provided for the tree in the past twenty years.  Ms. Dayacamos reported on the improper care that the property management company has provided for this tree and other trees in the neighborhood, which led to the decline of another Poplar tree adjacent to this particular tree. A request was made for the Council to play a part in forcing the property management company to stop destroying the street trees in the neighborhood, to hold them accountable, and provide proper care and maintenance in the future.  A discussion was held on the planter box that was added to the tree sometime in the 90’s or approximately 2000 that may be causing or can cause harm to the tree.  Ms. Dayacamos reported that there may not have been proper permits issued for the planter box.  Member Short indicated that if the Bureau of Street Use and Mapping did not issue an encroachment permit, then proper permits may not have been issued.  Ms. Dayacamos reported that an employee of the Department of Public Works (DPW) Bureau of Urban Forestry indicated that the tree could be harmed if the planter box were to be removed. Member Short stated that she could request that additional arborists from the Bureau look at the planter box to determine if removal is the right approach.

 

Member Short reassured Ms. Dayacamos that DPW has issued fines to the property management company, who has paid the fines and has assured DPW that they now understand proper pruning techniques.  DPW is keeping an eye on this corner and is doing their best to make sure that nothing happens to this tree.  If anything did happen to the tree, the fine would be much bigger than the starting fine.  Ms. Dayacamos stated that her concern is that the property owner is very wealthy and a fine would not mean that much to him.    

 

Member Cohen stated that consideration should be given as to what to do with good trees that are not landmark or champion trees. Member Cohen noted the previous history of abuse to San Francisco trees, and that landmarking the tree is being viewed as the only process that people think can assure protection.  Member Cohen stated that this particular neighborhood lost so many trees, that this rare tree is still there and plays an important role to the eco system, which gives pause to reevaluate the tree as landmark potential.  Member Blair agreed that the tree sounds like a special tree and is important in the area because it is the last one and also serves as an educational tool. 

 

Member Boss and second by Member Short motioned that this tree not be recommended for landmark tree status (AYES:  Chair Milne, Members Boss, Griswold, Habert, Nervo, Miller, Short; NOES:  Members Blair and Cohen; Absent: Vice-Chair Quirke, Members Hillan, Marks, Rodgers, Sherk and Sustarich).  The motion to disapprove did not pass.  This item would be forwarded to the Board of Supervisors as a Resolution Without Recommendation from the Urban Forestry Council (Explanatory Document: Resolution 007-08-UFC 501 Octavia ).    

    

5.        Annual Urban Forest Report. Approval of the 2008 Annual Urban Forest Report for submittal to the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor's Office. (Explanatory Documents: 2008 Annual Urban Forest Report and CUFR Chart) Discussion and Action) SPEAKER:  Council Coordinator Hui

 

Member Hillan joined the meeting at this time. Member Griswold left the meeting at this time.

Coordinator Hui presented an AMENDED ANNUAL REPORT and discussed revisions that were made to the previous version that included formatting and inclusion of charts.  Coordinator Hui reported that she had received information today from the San Francisco Unified School District on the number of trees that they had planted in the fiscal year, and it was agreed that this figure would be added to the report.  A discussion was held on the discrepancy in the number of trees planted for 2008 for Friends of the Urban Forest, and Member Short recommended deleting the 465 number from the chart on page 35. 

 

Coordinator Hui explained that she had provided a report to Ms. Astrid Haryati, Director of Greening, Mayor’s Office, on the agencies who did not respond to the survey.  It was explained that Ms. Haryati would be contacting those agencies, but that Coordinator Hui has not yet heard back on her progress.  Chair Milne explained that a supplemental report would be provided if additional departments were to respond. 

 

Public Comment:  Ms. Georgia Seamans referred to page 33 where it states that “San Francisco streets remain 56% unplanted.  Of these sites, affluent neighborhoods have an average rate of 28% empty sites, while underserved neighborhoods typically see empty rates of up to 74%” and asked how these percentages were calculated.  Coordinator Hui reported that figures were calculated based on a 2003 Street Tree Analysis Report providing details on how calculations were made, and both Member Short and Coordinator Hui indicated that there may be a requirement to recalculate the number based on additional considerations and more recent figures as they are provided. 

 

Upon Motion by Member Cohen and second by Member Boss, without objection, the Annual Report was approved for submittal to the Board of Supervisors with amendments (Explanatory Document:  Urban Forestry Council Annual Report Final) (Absent:  Members Vice-Chair Quirke, Members Griswold, Marks, Rodgers, Sherk and Sustarich).

 

6.        Landmark Tree Evaluation Criteria, Evaluation and Nomination Forms.  Consider and possibly vote to adopt Amendments to the Landmark Tree Criteria and Nomination and Evaluation Forms recommended by the Landmark Tree Committee. The Council Coordinator will provide the Council with a report regarding proposed changes to the landmark tree criteria. (Explanatory Documents: Original Criteria and Evaluation and Nomination Forms; Proposed Landmark Tree Criteria; Evaluation Form Amended; Nomination Form Amended; and Criteria Grouping) (Discussion and Possible Action) SPEAKER:  Landmark Tree Committee Chair Member Boss

 

Landmark Tree Committee Chair Boss reported on his confusion utilizing the original evaluation forms and recommended that proposed changes be applied to existing criteria, evaluation and nomination forms in order to help Committee members organize their thinking when evaluating trees. It was explained that the Committee grouped the criteria into five “super” categories that includes: rarity, physical attributes, environmental concerns, historical and cultural.  The various items on the original criteria fell into one or the other of these five categories. 

 

Coordinator Hui reported on the proposed criteria revisions that include title changes, description changes, removing “extends between multiple properties,” and adding grouping levels.  Coordinator Hui reported that Deputy City Attorney Cabrera advised that (1) the proposed changes to the criteria would require the approval of the Board of Supervisors; and (2) that the criteria reference to having “particular value to religious groups” be deleted because of City Charter requirements.

 

Member Cohen recommended that consideration be given to doing a tree valuation (placing monetary value on the tree) in order to add further tree protection.  It was explained that in the case of the Valley Oak tree that was removed, if a monetary value was placed on the tree that would have increased the property value, the tree may not have been removed.  Chair Milne stated that adding this formula to the criteria would make it too difficult for the public or whoever was filling out the form.  Member Hillan stated that would put too much of a burden for the Committee or whoever is going to pay for the arborist to evaluate the value of the tree.  Member Blair stated that adding a monetary value might also influence the Board of Supervisors decision. Member Boss stated that adding a monetary value would be a good idea, but that most Committee Members are not skilled in this type of appraisal.  Member Cohen asked if there is a formula tool (form on the web) that can be used for this purpose.  Member Short stated that she is not aware of one.    

 

Member Short discussed retaining the reference to rarity in California, North America and the world and suggested adding “attributes” to the physical category and removing “religious” from the nomination and evaluation forms as well as in the criteria.  Member Boss stated that he would support adding to rarity a reference to other geographic regions.  Member Hillan recommended adding historial relevance, environmental impact and cultural value to the headings as well. Chair Milne stated that he likes the idea of having blank lines so people could add their own comments on what makes the tree so special.   Member Habert stated that he did not feel that the criteria adds up to a decision and that a numerical ranking system should not be used. Members Short and Blair commended the Committee on their work on amending the criteria and forms.

 

Coordinator Hui reported that the nomination and evaluation forms had previously been forwarded to the Board of Supervisors and were included in the criteria packets in the past, so the forms should also be sent to the Board of Supervisors for approval as well as the criteria.

 

Upon Motion by Member Cohen and second by Member Blair, without objection, the criteria, nomination and evaluation forms were approved with amendments that include (1) deleting the reference to religious groups; (2) added “attributes” to the physical heading; and (3) rarity would now read “unusual species in San Francisco or other geographic regions.”  The Council approved preparation of a Resolution or other transmital to forward the amended criteria and forms to the Board of Supervisors (Explanatory Document:  Res 008-08-UFC Landmark Tree Amended Forms) (Absent: Vice-Chair Quirke, Members Griswold, Marks, Rodgers, Sherk and Sustarich).

 

7.        Chair’s Report on Urban Forestry Council Members’ Annual Meeting Attendance and Requirements. (Explanatory Document:  Council Attendance Policy to Board of Supervisors and Mayor) (Informational Report and Discussion) SPEAKER:  Council Chair Milne

 

Council Chair Milne explained that the Council’s annual attendance report has been submitted to the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor for the fiscal year, and that it is not going to be included as part of the Annual Report.  Part of the policy is to bring attendance requirements to the attention of members if they have missed more than three meetings in the fiscal year.  Chair Milne stated that he does not feel this issue has to be addressed at this time as there may be a new Council as a result of the proposed legislation and would address this issue at a future date.

 

8.        Long-Range Bond-Funded Urban Forestry Maintenance.  Report on the Recreation and Park Department's Clean and Safe General Obligation Bond. (Continued from the July 25, 2008 Meeting) (Informational Report and Discussion)

 

Coordinator Hui reported that she has not received a response to her request for a speaker on this agenda item but would continue the effort.  This agenda item was continued to the September 26, 2008 meeting. 

 

9.        Urban Forest Plan Update.   The Council Chair and Coordinator will report on the progress of the San Francisco Planning Department’s work on the Urban Forest Plan that will be incorporated into the City’s General Plan. (Continued from the July 25, 2008 Meeting) (Informational Report and Discussion) SPEAKERS: Council Chair Milne and Council Coordinator Hui

 

Coordinator Hui stated that a “focusing on current policy institutional and financial structure” meeting was held and there would be another meeting scheduled in the next month discussing current reports and other information on the urban forest that is available at this time. It was reported that Member Short provided a brief overview about Friends of the Urban Forest activities, Vice-Chair Quirke presented an overview on behalf of Friends of the Urban Forest, and Member Habert provided an overview on behalf of the Redevelopment Agency.  The objective was for EDAW to acquire information from Council members.

 

Chair Milne stated that there was almost a quorum of Council members at the meeting and was appreciative that the Council had some interaction and input into the General Plan process. Chair Milne stated that a request was made for “trees” to be placed on the top of each page of EDAW’s report as opposed to understory, ground cover, or anything else that is green.  Coordinator Hui reported that Mr. Power is presenting these meetings as staff meetings instead of public meetings in order to reduce the amount of discussion and to make sure that EDAW’s time is well-used. 

 

10.    Proposal for Visible Identification of Landmark Trees after Designation. (Explanatory Documents: Visible Identification of Landmark Trees Proposal; Graphic: Landmark Tree Identification; Proposed Amended Graphic, and Visible Identification of Landmark Trees Recommendation) (Continued from the July 25, 2008 Meeting) (Discussion and Possible Action)

 

Coordinator Hui stated that in order to do fundraising on this item, the Council would have to make a decision on how they would like to move forward. Member Habert asked how many trees that appear on the proposed graphic (Monterey Cypress) had been landmarked.  Coordinator Hui reported that there is one Monterey Cypress on 2626 Vallejo Street that has been recommended for landmark tree status by the Council, but has not been voted on by the full Board.  Coordinator Hui reported that the Monterey Cypress that is on the graphic is the official City tree.  This item was continued to the September 26, 2008 meeting.

 

11.    Staff Report.  Staff will provide updates on Urban Forestry Council administrative and programmatic operations relating to research, planning, funding, outreach, and other related activities. (Explanatory Document: Staff Report) (Informational Report and Discussion)

 

Coordinator Hui provided a staff report as explained in the Staff Report.

 

12.    Committee Reports: (Informational Reports and Discussion).

Planning & Funding Committee, Chair, Carla Short

The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, September 18, 2008, 4:15 p.m. at City Hall, Room 421.

 

Planning and Funding Committee Chair Short reported that the Committee discussed the Annual Urban Forest Council Report and improving protection for trees on large development projects.  It was decided that rather than focusing on one item such as large scale development projects, that a review would be done of the Council’s Work Plan to see what items would most likely be addressed as part of the Urban Forest Master Plan process and then determine if the Council could weigh in on those specific action items. This agenda item would be discussed at the next Committee meeting and then would be heard at a future Council meeting.  A request was made for Coordinator Hui to provide examples of large scale development projects that are in varying stages of completion in order to have a comparison so if an ordinance amendment were to be proposed to increase tree protection, there would be good references available.

  

Landmark Tree Committee, Chair, Mike Boss

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

 

No additional information was reported at this time.

 

13.    Chair’s Announcements: Terry Milne, Chair, Urban Forestry Council (Information and Discussion).There were no announcements made at this time.

 

14.    New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Information and Discussion). There was no new business/future agenda items discussed at this time.

 

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 7:38 p.m.

 

Copies of explanatory documents are available to the public at the Department of the 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 Monica.Fish@Sfgov.org.

Urban Forestry Council, 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:  092608
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