07.24 Approved Minutes

 

City and County of San Francisco

DEpartment of the ENvironment

URBAN FORESTRY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING

APPROVED MINUTES

 

Friday July 24, 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 9:00 a.m.  Roll Call:  Present:  Chair Milne, Vice Chair D’Agostino, Members Cohen, LeBeau, Rodgers and Short; Excused:  Members Blair, Boss, Hillan, Sherk and Vargas; Advisory Members Present:  Members Nervo and Sustarich.

 

2.      Adoption of Minutes of the June 23, 2009 Urban Forestry Council Regular Meeting. (Discussion and Action) Upon Motion by Member Rodgers and second by Member Short, the June 23, 2009 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (AYES: Chair Milne, Vice Chair D’Agostino, Members Cohen, LeBeau, Rodgers and Short; Absent: Members Blair, Boss, Hillan, Sherk and Vargas) (Explanatory Document: June 23, 2009 Approved Minutes).

 

3.      Resolution Amending the Urban Forestry Council's Bylaws to Add the Council’s Attendance Policy and Amend the Existing Bylaws Requirements. (Explanatory Documents:  Notice of Amendment to Bylaws and Draft Resolution Amending Bylaws) (Discussion and Action)

 

Council Coordinator Hui reported that the Council Secretary is required to submit an attendance report for all Council members at the end of each fiscal year to the member’s appointing authority, which has been done, and Council members were emailed a copy of the report.  It was stated that the Deputy City Attorney requested that the attendance policy, which the Council adopted at their December 2006 meeting, be included in the Bylaws.  The Council today would be voting on adding the Attendance Policy to their Bylaws and also revising the existing Bylaws as indicated in the notice.  Vice Chair D’Agostino questioned whether the Bylaws and Attendance Policy requirement excerpt “If a Council Member misses more than three (3) meetings of the full Council or three (3) committee meetings per calendar year, whether those absences are excused or unexcused, then upon a vote of the Council, the Council Chair may ask the appointing authority to remove the member and appoint a replacement member” should be deleted because she has noticed attendance problems on the part of members that should be addressed.

 

Member Cohen expressed concern about the recent Ordinance legislating membership reduction and cited this as a reason for more absences and less energy on the part of members.  Member Cohen asked if anyone was assigned to contact the member as to why they are not attending meetings.  Coordinator Hui stated that there is no requirement to contact the member as members are aware of the Attendance Policy.  However, members do receive a copy of the Attendance Report to review before it is sent to the appointing authority.  Member Rodgers recommended that the Bylaws and Policy reflect that if a member misses a certain number of meetings, the Council shall schedule a hearing on whether a Resolution should be passed requesting an alternate appointment.

 

Upon Motion by Member Short and second by Member LeBeau, this item was continued to the August 25 meeting with a request for staff to work with the Deputy City Attorney to make the Bylaws consistent with the Attendance Policy.  (AYES: Chair Milne, Vice Chair D’Agostino, Members Cohen, LeBeau, Rodgers and Short; Absent: Members Blair, Boss, Hillan, Sherk and Vargas)  

4.      Urban Forestry Council’s Priority Work Plan. (Discussion) (Explanatory Document:  Priority Work Plan) Sponsor and Speaker:  Chair Milne

 

Member Short reported that the Council has a Priority Work Plan (see explanatory document above) but never revisited the plan to address whether items should be added, deleted, or worked on.  Council Members reviewed the Plan and provided recommendations as follows:

 

Chair Milne stated that there is a federal investigation taking place on Work Plan Item A6 regarding installation of artificial turf fields as it applies to toxic chemicals that are used to make the material, and review of the effect on endangered animal species.  Member Short indicated that the artificial turf fields also contain lead and there is a problem with lead leeching. 

 

Member Short reported that the Council has discussed Work Plan Item A10 “Look into the feasibility of requiring a certification for anyone who works on a tree under City jurisdiction. Consider training programs for the public” but was not successful in making it happen because of legal and budgetary considerations. Member LeBeau stated that she would like to continue discussion on certification and suggested that at a minimum there be ISA certification.  Council Coordinator Hui stated that the Deputy City Attorney did say that a program could be moved forward but would require additional funding for Department of Public Works staffing, so a program is not possible at this time because funding does not exist.  Member Rodgers stated that if the Council feels it is important enough, they can still propose a recommendation to the Board.  Member LeBeau reported that Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF) talked extensively about illegal pruning and are trying to form their own programs, but have not been successful influencing the City.  Member Cohen expressed her concern that tree topping is getting worse in the city.

 

Member D’Agostino stated that Work Plan Item C1 to conduct monthly meetings between the Coordinator, Chair, and Greening Director to discuss Council activities and provide monthly updates is occurring.

 

Chair Milne stated that Work Plan Item B1 had not been worked on “Work on City policy to address pine pitch canker. Include discussion of the effects on Monterey pines in San Francisco and City resources that are being used for removal and disposal of these trees; e.g., SFPUC does not have resources to attend to establishment and planting of new trees.”  Member Short stated that there is a new city canker problem that has been diagnosed in Southern California that is affecting ficus trees.  It was recommended that a former member, Mr. Larry Costello, an expert in this field, be invited to attend a future Council meeting to present on this subject.  Chair Milne suggested that Mr. Costello bring a draft resolution for the Council to refer to the Board of Supervisors.  Council Coordinator Hui recommended that Mr. Costello provide recommendations for a Resolution for staff to draft.  Member Cohen inquired whether there could be state funding available to address this problem and whether preventative treatments were available.  Member Short reported that through her investigation of this issue, she found that there are no treatments for the pine pitch canker, but there is an experimental inoculation for the city canker.  Member Short is also exploring whether the state can support funding

 

Chair Milne stated that Work Plan Item A4 as it relates to the Council’s involvement in large public projects and making changes to the Planning Code for better enforcement and protection of existing trees…has not been completed and has been an arduous process in securing speakers to attend Council meetings to describe their project.  Chair Milne asked Member Rodgers to inform the Council of Planning Code changes that may be in progress.  Member Rodgers reported that she and Member Cohen had drafted a green landscaping ordinance approximately four years ago at the request of the Mayor’s Office Director of Greening, which is now moving forward.  The ordinance currently includes permeability and increased landscaping requirements, green planting alternatives if a tree can’t be planted, other sidewalk planting, and interior parking lot tree planting requirements.  It could be more robust but is a good start right now.  The Mayor is reviewing the Ordinance for developer concerns as it involves increased costs, but it is hoped that the Ordinance will be introduced soon.  There are two processes for introduction that include (1) either the Mayor can introduce the Ordinance at a Board of Supervisors meeting, and it would then be routed to the Planning Commission for review, or (2) the Planning Department can introduce the Ordinance at a Planning Commission hearing, and then the Mayor can choose to sponsor it at the Board of Supervisors. The Ordinance does require Commission and Board approval.  Member Rodgers recommended that the Council pass a Resolution urging introduction of the Ordinance either at the Planning Commission or the Board of Supervisors.  Another alternative recommended was to contact the Director of Greening to inquire about the status and offer the Council’s support.  Member D’Agostino discussed the San Mateo “Flows to the Bay” Best Management Practices for managing storm water, planting in parking lots, etc. 

 

Member Cohen stated that Planning Code Section 143 requires a tree every 20 feet and because one of the Council’s priority work items is to increase sidewalk pocket parks, the requirement should be one tree every 20 feet along with consecutive planting of ten-feet of understory.  Member Cohen stated that there is a lot of construction, demolition, and improvements that every City department is involved in as part of development, which would present opportunities for increased permeability, planting, and canopy cover, but oftentimes does not happen.  Member Cohen recommended that the Planning Code bar be raised and not kept at status quo. 

 

Member Short stated that she supports this concept but discussed the maintenance challenge in public right-of-ways.  It was stated that there is a lot of pedestrian traffic in San Francisco and there is concern that if these areas are not well maintained, it could cause potential tripping hazards for the public and block access to sidewalk space.  Member Short discussed the negative outcome when developers plant trees and fail to disclose to new owners that the tree is their maintenance responsibility.  An additional concern would be who would be able to enforce maintenance if permeable sidewalk garden spaces were to be required. Vice Chair D’Agostino discussed her involvement in San Francisco garden project installations, the lack of proper maintenance in many of these installations, and the need for regulation.
 

Member LeBeau suggested that as an alternative to garden installations, permeable pavers be considered as they are easier to maintain. Member Cohen stated that in the case of development in conjunction with condominiums, that the homeowners association be involved in maintenance. Member Rodgers stated that the Council has presented good ideas that she hopes to discuss at upcoming meetings.

 

Chair Milne stated that in reference to Work Plan Item A5 as it relates to the Recreation and Park bond for urban forest projects, a presentation was given by a Recreation and Park Department staff member on how the bond would address urban forest projects.  The presenter indicated that she would make a presentation at the Council to describe updates when the bond goes into effect.  Chair Milne indicated that on Item C5, he would talk to Board of Supervisors members to suggest that they recommend to the Council landmark trees from their district on a regular basis.      

 

Member LeBeau requested that the Recommended Street Tree list be expanded and placed on a future agenda. Council Chair Milne stated that the Council should work on the pine pitch canker item and the green landscaping ordinance in the near future. 

 

5.      Status Report on Data Collection for the Urban Forestry Council’s Annual Report.  (Informational Report and Discussion) (Explanatory Documents:  Annual Report Surveys Received) Speaker: Mei Ling Hui, Council Coordinator

 

Council Coordinator Hui distributed annual report surveys that were received to date.  It was stated that in addition to responses received (1) FUF reported working on the survey; (2) GGNRA reported that they are not sure they would provide a response because they are researching whether anything in their jurisdiction would apply to the City and County of San Francisco; and (3) Redevelopment is in the process of identifying the right person to complete the report and serve as a Council member.  Coordinator Hui reported that all of the agencies that have responded are listed in the Staff Report (see explanatory document in Agenda Item 6).  Chair Milne remarked that there was better response received this year than the previous year.  Member Cohen inquired about a response from Presidio Trust.  Coordinator Hui reported that she had not received a response from Presidio Trust.

 

Council Coordinator Hui reported that she would present the Council with a draft of the Annual Report at the Council’s August meeting for review and comment.  It was explained that this would be the only opportunity for the Council to request changes or clarifications since the report is due in September, and would be sent out approximately a week after the August meeting.  Coordinator Hui stated that she would not include the lengthy background of urban forest work in San Francisco for this report and would provide an executive summary that would lead to highlighting agency responses.  The Council was asked to provide their comments to Ms. Hui on highlights they would like to include in the report.  Coordinator Hui stated that she would include a reference to the completion of the “Trees for Tomorrow” and the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) “2012 by 2012” campaigns, as well as major urban forest campaigns such as the Recreation and Park Department’s General Obligation Bond   

 

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) (Explanatory Document: Staff Report)

 

Council Coordinator Hui provided Council Members with a written Staff Report.  Additionally, Ms. Hui reported on the Recreation and Park Department’s issuance of a Request for Proposals (RFP) and hiring of a consultant, Hort Science, to review their urban forest and make an assessment of which areas should be focused on.  The Recreation and Park Department is also doing overall urban forest planning.  The overall urban forest planning and the decisions about which sites will be assessed does not qualify for bond funding; however future individual site assessments that will be followed by work will be paid for by bond funding. 

 

Additional topics of discussion can be accessed in the explanatory document staff report above and include (1) the monthly meeting cancellation with the Mayor’s Office Director of Greening; (2) landmark tree tour scheduled on August 22 at 1801 Bush Street; (3) San Francisco Foundation grant for the Urban Gleaning Project; (4) restart of the Tree Map project; (5) Commission on the Environment July 28 meeting to vote on a Resolution urging the Planning Department to prioritize Urban Forest Plan work; (6) collaboration with the Public Library on the Green Stacks program; and (7) Annual Urban Forest Report status. 

 

Coordinator Hui also reported on correspondence received from UCSF to the Council reporting on the status of the Mount Sutro Project and indicating that they would attend a Council meeting later in the year when their plans are back in progress.  UCSF had also sent the Council a copy of the letter sent to Mount Sutro neighbors to report on their plans moving forward.  (Explanatory Document:  UCSF Letter)

  

7.      Committee Reports: (Informational Reports and Discussion)

Planning & Funding Committee, Chair, Carla Short

The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, August 20, 2009, 4:15 p.m. at City Hall, Room 421. 

Landmark Tree Committee, Chair, Mike Boss

Chair Milne reported that the Planning and Funding and Landmark Tree Committees did not have meetings in July.  No additional report was provided at this time.

 

8.      Chair’s Announcements: Terry Milne, Chair, Urban Forestry Council (Information and Discussion)

 

Council Chair Milne discussed the publicity that the Department of Public Works is receiving about the lack of funding available to fix sidewalks damaged by street tree roots.  Chair Milne reported that he had seen three trucks and a concrete mixer fixing roots on Folsom Street, which had not been fixed in a couple of years.  Vice-Chair D’Agostino discussed the Examiner article “Rooting Out” and stated that the Council should provide an article to publish called “Topping Off” and why it is bad.  Chair Milne stated that the Examiner has always been interested in publishing urban forest articles.

 

9.      New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Information and Discussion).

 

Future agenda items recommended include (1) Review of the Recommended Street Tree List (Member LeBeau) for review at the Planning and Funding Committee and then to the full Council; (2) city canker informational report (Member Short); (3) discussion on the Examiner article about what to do with empty lots when development has stalled.  Discuss the idea about planting trees on the lots, which may not be feasible because those trees could be torn down when development restarts and provide recommendations for use of these lots, e.g., urban tree nurseries (Member Short); and (4) discussion of the canker problem and the green landscaping ordinance (Chair Milne). 

 

Member LeBeau reported that Friends of the Urban Forest is having a planting on Saturday in the Mission District and will be followed by a planting the following Saturday in Mission Terrace.

 

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 10:03 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 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:  August 25, 2009  

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