03.27 Approved Minutes

City and County of San Francisco

DEpartment of the ENvironment




Friday, March 27, 2009, 8:30 a.m.

City Hall, Room 400  

One Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place

San Francisco, CA 94102


Order of Business



1.      Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Urban Forestry Council meeting convened at 8:50 a.m. Voting Members Present: Members Cohen, D’Agostino, Hillan, LeBeau, Milne, Sherk, Short (9:55), and Vargas (9:41); Voting Members Absent: Members Blair and Rodgers; Voting Member Excused: Member Boss; Advisory Member Present: Member Nervo; Advisory Member Excused: Member Sustarich.


Item 2 was heard before Item 14.


2.      Adoption of Minutes of the February 24, 2009 Urban Forestry Council Regular Meeting. (Explanatory Document: February 24, 2009 Draft Minutes) (Discussion and Action).  Upon Motion by Member Hillan and second by Member Short without objection, Council Chair Milne was recused from voting on the minutes because he was not a Council member at the February 24, 2009 meeting.  Upon Motion by Member Cohen and second by Member D’Agostino the February 24, 2009 Meeting Minutes were approved as written (AYES:  Members Cohen, D’Agostino, Hillan, LeBeau, Sherk, Short and Vargas; Absent:  Members Blair, Boss and Rodgers; Recused:  Chair Milne).


3.      Election of Council Chair and Vice-Chair (Continued from the February 24, 2009 Meeting) (Discussion and Action).  Member Cohen nominated Member Milne for Chair and Member D’Agostino for Vice-Chair.  Members Milne and D’Agostino accepted the nominations.  Member Milne was elected as Chair and Member D’Agostino was elected as Vice-Chair (AYES:  Members Cohen, D’Agostino, Hillan, LeBeau, Milne, and Sherk; Absent:  Members Blair, Boss, Rodgers, Short and Vargas).


4.      Resolution Amending the Urban Forestry Council's Bylaws to Amend the Council Committee Structure and Special Meeting Notice Requirements.  (Explanatory Documents:  Notice of Amendment to Bylaws and Draft Resolution Amending Bylaws) (Discussion and Action)


Council Coordinator Hui reported that the Resolution would amend the Bylaws to change the Landmark Tree Committee into an ad hoc as needed Committee so that meeting cancellation notices would not have to be prepared if there were no trees to consider for landmark status at the regular meeting. Chair Milne reported that the amendment would also change the membership requirement of the Planning and Funding Committee to five members and require that 15-day notice be given for future ad hoc Landmark Tree Committee meetings.  Council Members discussed the advantages and disadvantages of changing the Landmark Tree Committee to an ad hoc Committee.  Chair Milne recommended continuing the discussion for when the Landmark Tree Committee Chair is present for discussion. 


Upon Motion by Member Cohen and second by Member D’Agostino, Resolution File 2009-03-UFC to change the Planning and Funding Committee membership to five members and special meeting notice requirements to 72 hours was approved with an amendment to delete amendments that would change the Landmark Tree Committee into an ad hoc Committee.  (AYES:  Members Cohen, D’Agostino, Hillan, LeBeau, Milne, and Sherk; Absent:  Members Blair, Boss, Rodgers, Short and Vargas).  (Explanatory Documents: Resolution 003-09-UFC Amending Bylaws and Bylaws Adopted on March 27, 2009)


5.      Council Committee Membership Appointments.  (Discussion and Action) Council Chair Milne reported that the Council Bylaws directs the Chair to make appointments to Committees which he would do in the future.  No action was taken on this item at this time.


6.      Establishing a citywide program for identifying companies that do citywide pruning and maintenance on street trees. Speaker:  Council Chair Milne (Discussion) 


Council Chair Milne reported on the March 15, 2009 San Francisco Examiner article “Issue growing about trees and billboards” that discusses how trees that block billboards are illegally pruned.  Vice-Chair D’Agostino discussed Redwood City’s strict pruning regulations and recommended that the Council select examples of good and bad pruning for future discussion.  Member Cohen stated that there is often no acknowledgement by property owners that there are standards to abide by and wondered what it would take to bring about a paradigm shift. This agenda item was continued to the April 28, 2009 Meeting so that input could be received from Planning and Department of Public Works representatives.


7.      Report on Arbor Day Activities. Speaker:  Council Coordinator Mei Ling Hui (Informational Report and Discussion) 


Council Coordinator Hui reported on the success of Arbor Day activities--the Department of Public Works (DPW) planted 350 trees on Sunset Boulevard, spread 20 yards of chips, and also planted 73 small native plants.  There were about 450 volunteers on site in addition to all the people working at the Green Resource Fair.


Member Cohen reported that the Urban Forestry Council adopted a resolution recommending support and creation of three pilot permeable landscaping projects involving significant or landmark trees.  Council Chair Milne, who was on the Arbor Day Committee, suggested that a project be worked on at Sunset Elementary as part of Arbor Day activities.  Member Cohen reported that the Sunset Elementary’s PTA Garden Club had a $2000 grant that they had to use by May and made adjustments to their grant that incorporated the Urban Forestry Council into creating a project on their site.  It was stated that DPW, Recreation and Park Department, and other entities came together to donate plants, urbanite, and other material that contributed to the success of the project.  Pictures were presented. 


Member Vargas joined the meeting at 9:41 a.m.


Council Chair Milne reported that DPW had a grant to reforest Sunset Boulevard, and planted big trees for six or eight blocks along Sunset Boulevard. Member Cohen reported that the Aesthetic Pruning Club had five people in attendance, staffed a table, pruned trees, held pruning demonstrations, and helped with cleanup in front of AP Giannini Junior High School.  Coordinator Hui reported that Quesada Gardens’ master gardener brought a lot of plants that surround the landmark trees on Quesada Street.   


8.      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)  Council Coordinator Hui reported on activities that include:


·         Monthly meeting between the Mayor’s Office to discuss Arbor Day, the art installation at City Hall Plaza, and the San Francisco School District’s (SFUSD) tree planting program called “2012 by 2012.”

·         All Council appointments by the Mayor’s Office and Board of Supervisors have been made to date.  There are open seats for advisory members that have to be filled.

·         “2012 by 2012” program is am SFUSD program to plant 2012 trees by year 2012 in partnership with Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF).  The FUF website that contains project details and a link to donate is www.2012by2012.com.

·         The 22nd Street Caltrains Station Buckeye has been landmarked by the Board of Supervisors and the ordinance is awaiting signature from the Mayor’s Office.  Updates to the landmark tree website listing landmark and nominated trees will be made next week.  There is only one nominated tree on the website at this time that is the Lombardi Poplar in Hayes Valley that may not move forward by the Board of Supervisors. The Council held a hearing on this tree and voted to not make a recommendation.

·         Presented three examples of paper for the Landmark Tree Certificate.

·         Landmark Tree Criteria has been adopted by the Board of Supervisors.  Nomination forms have been updated and will be updated on the website by next week.  Copies were available for review by Council Members.

·         Better Streets Plan – the Planning Department has posted documents on feedback received on the Draft Plan online.  Council Members were asked if they had comments to send to the Planning Department on the Plan or comments on the Draft.

·         Recreation and Park Department “Clean and Safe” general obligation bonds for $4 million on urban forestry work presentation by a panel that included the Council Coordinator, FUF, and Recreation and Park Department staff to the NPC.  A Request for Proposal(s) has been issued for tree assessment which closes today.  Chair Milne reported that this is the first time that urban forestry maintenance and analysis, work etc. has been put into a bond in San Francisco.

·         Civic Center Art Installation and its effect on surrounding trees. The Art Director of the Arts Commission is open to hearing any concerns the Council may have on damage that could result to trees as a result of the installation.


Additional details are included in the Staff Report explanatory document above.


9.      Council Secretary Report.  (Explanatory Document: Council Secretary Report) (Informational Report and Discussion)  Council Chair Milne reported that the Secretary’s Report includes (1) the Council’s Attendance Policy. The Secretary is required to report on Council Members’ attendance at meetings to the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors on an annual basis; and (2) training by the City Attorney’s office on Sunshine and Ethics training for public officials that is open to the public.  Council members were asked to contact either the Council Secretary or the Council Coordinator for additional information. Additional details are included in the Staff Report explanatory document above. 

Member Short arrived at this time--9:55 a.m.


10.  Introduction of New Council Members. (Discussion)  All Council members introduced themselves.


·         Member Short reported that she represents the Department of Public Works on the Council.  Her job is Urban Forester for the department and deals with trees in the public right of way.

·         Vice-Chair D’Agostino (1) reported that today is her five month anniversary as the Urban Forestry Specialist for Redwood City; (2) discussed her volunteer efforts at FUF, and her subsequent position as a planting manager, (3) previous work at the Department of Public Works as an arborist inspector; (4) certification as an arborist with the ISA, member of the American Society of Consulting Arborists; (5) Co-Chair of the Bay Area Urban Forest and Coast System Council; (6) active member of SPUR and he interest in planning issues and how that interfaces with the urban forest; (7) helped administer the certified arborist exam, and (7) and her consulting work in addition to municipal and community work.

·         Member Hillan reported that he teaches environmental horticulture subjects at City College of San Francisco and holds the educational seat requirement for the Council.  Member Hillan stated that he is also a licensed landscape contractor and became certified as an arborist three years ago.

·         Member Vargas reported that (1) she has a Masters Degree in Landscape Architecture with a minor in Forestry and is interested in cities and nature; (2) studied urban ecology in Berlin as a Fulbright scholar; (3) worked with the Forest Services Center in Davis for three and a half years on urban forestry research; and (3) is now working with cities, universities, and private companies who are trying to increase their sustainability and helping them use natural resources instead of technology.   

·         Member Cohen reported that (1) she works for her own business “Poetry Landscapes and Arboriculture” primarily working on trees, mostly in aesthetic pruning and on smaller stature trees and on landscape design and preservation reports for people who are trying to save trees during construction and development; (2) she teaches Arboriculture at Merritt College and is active in the Merritt College Pruning Club; (3) she has been a member of the Urban Forestry Council for approximately four years; (4) she in interested in turning our streets and sidewalks into gardens working in conjunction with other City departments.

·         Council Chair Milne reported that he is a member of the Bernal Heights Tree Committee and has been on the Urban Forestry Council since its inception.

·         Member Sherk reported on (1) her many degrees, specifically in landscape architecture, environmental sculpture, and education; (2) her work with the Living Library working with schools and communities to create place-based ecological and sustainable transformation that integrates the local resources of the community, human, ecological, economic, historic, technological and aesthetic.  It was explained there are branch Living Libraries in diverse communities of San Francisco and in New York City.  It was stated that a goal of Life Frames Inc., a non profit that she founded and directs is to sponsor branch living libraries and think parks in diverse parts of the world, so it is both a local and global project.  A current project is to develop a Living Library Nature Walk in San Francisco that would frame the Islais Creek Watershed, which links at least nine communities in San Francisco and  (3) has personally planted thousands of trees in San Francisco since the early 70’s when she developed an urban farm and art center that incorporated a freeway interchange;

·         Member LeBeau reported that (1) she is the planting manager for FUF; (2) has attended a lot of community meetings in San Francisco and is interested in how communities work and helps organize community tree plantings; (3) her degree is in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation and is a certified arborist (4) has worked in native plant nurseries; and (5) has been doing a lot of research on San Francisco’s laws and regulations.

·         Member Nervo reported that (1) she is the Council’s advisory member for the Recreation and Park Department where she has worked for almost 32 years; (2) her degree is in Ornamental Horticulture, has a certificate in Park Management, and has been a certified arborist for approximately eight or nine years; (3) for the past 17 years, she has been a Park Sections Supervisor at San Francisco Botanical Garden; and (4) is a co-owner with her brother of a vineyard in Sonoma County that has been in her family for 110 years.     


11.  Committee Reports: (Informational Reports and Discussion)

Planning & Funding Committee, Chair, Carla Short

The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, April 16, 2009, 4:15 p.m. at City Hall, Room 421.

 Landmark Tree Committee, Chair, Mike Boss

No Committee reports were made at this time since no meetings were held due to the Council’s reorganization.  Council Chair Milne reported that the Planning and Funding Committee is able to hold their meeting in April because three members would constitute a quorum as a result of the Bylaws amendment to change the membership requirement to five members.  Coordinator Hui asked Council Members to contact Chair Milne about their interest in Committee membership.


12.  Chair’s Announcements: Terry Milne, Chair, Urban Forestry Council (Information and Discussion).  No new announcements were made at this time.


13.  New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Information and Discussion).  Member Short reported that DPW held a productive meeting to discuss trees and billboard conflicts and recommended that this issue be discussed at the Planning and Funding Committee as well as the full Council.  Council Chair Milne recommended that this issue be heard first at the Planning and Funding Committee.  Member Short reported that DPW is exploring better enforcement options as a result of a lot of trees being topped for billboards and would issue a report at the next meeting on this topic.  Vice-Chair D’Agostino reported that she has been reviewing construction as it relates to tree protection and would provide additional information on this topic at the next meeting.


Item 2 was heard before Item 14.


14.  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.


15.  Adjournment.  The Council Meeting adjourned at 10:22 a.m.


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 attachments with each agenda or meeting minutes, or upon request to the Council Secretary at the address listed below, telephone number 415-355-3709, or via e-mail at [email protected].


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:  April 28, 2009

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