05.28 Approved Minutes

City and County of San Francisco

DEpartment of the ENvironment

URBAN FORESTRY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING

APPROVED MINUTES

 FRIDAY, MAY 28, 2010, 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 8:34 a.m. Voting Members Present: Chair Milne, Vice-Chair D’Agostino, Members Buck, Cohen, Hillan, Hillson, and Sherk (8:44). Excused:  Members Costello and Vargas; Absent: Members LeBeau and Rodgers; Advisory Member Present: Member Nervo.

 

2.      Adoption of Minutes of the March 26, 2010 Urban Forestry Council Regular Meeting. (Explanatory Document: March 26, 2010 Draft Minutes) (Discussion and Action) 

 

Council Coordinator Hui reported that information was required for approval of the March 26, 2010 meeting minutes due to an audio tape malfunction related to the motion and second on Agenda item 2 (Meeting Minutes), Agenda Item 6 (Resolution supporting the Green Landscaping Ordinance), and Agenda Item 7 (Resolution supporting the recommendations of the Pine Pitch Canker Task Force).  Vice-Chair D’Agostino reported that she motioned to adopt the minutes, second by Member LeBeau.  On Agenda Item 6, Vice-Chair D’Agostino reported that she motioned to support the Green Landscaping Ordinance, second by Member Cohen.  There was no recall on the motion and second for Agenda Item 7. Upon Motion by Member Buck, second by Vice-Chair D’Agostino, the March 26, 2010 Meeting Minutes were approved with amendments (AYES:  Chair Milne, Vice-Chair D’Agostino, Members Buck, Cohen, Hillan, and Hillson; Absent: Members Costello, LeBeau, Rodgers, Sherk and Vargas).

 

3.      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. 

 

Ms. Katherine Howard, SF Ocean Edge, reported that in 1980, the California Department of Forestry prepared a Golden Gate Park Forest Management Plan which includes reforestation recommendations for the vital windbreak for the western end of Golden Gate Park and the use of myoporum laetum to provide the windbreak.  She stated that the Beach Chalet Soccer Fields project plan to remove trees poses a threat to the myoporum and windbreak. This is one of the reasons a coalition of groups appealed the project’s categorical exemption to the Board of Supervisors.  As a result of the appeal, the Recreation and Park Department has pulled the project from the Planning Department and is now considering a full EIR.  She stated that a scoping session would be requested.  Ms. Howard asked that the Council provide any information or comments that they may have into the EIR by either writing a letter directly to the department or to SF Ocean Edge. Ms. Howard also discussed the threat posed by myoporum thrip which is decimating myoporum in California and is a threat to the ocean’s edge. She requested further discussion with the Council in order to identify remedies and asked that the Council consider a policy to signify the importance of the myoporum to the urban forest of San Francisco and encourage its preservation  (Explanatory Documents: SF Ocean Edge May 28, 2010 Memorandum to the Urban Forestry Council and background documents). Vice Chair D’Agostino discussed the threat of myoporum thrip and unknown remedies. Member Cohen discussed the lack of available funding and possible immunity in some species.

 

4.      Hearing on Nomination for Landmark Tree Status. The Urban Forestry Council held a hearing to determine whether the tree nominated at the following address meets the criteria for designation as a landmark tree. (Discussion and Action)

 

Sequoia sempervirens located at Assessor’s Block 6734, Lot 023; 46 Stillings Avenue, San Francisco, CA. (Explanatory Documents: Landmark Tree Committee Written Report, Nomination Form, Landmark Tree Evaluation Forms, Arborist Report, Public Comment)

 

Landmark Tree Committee Chair Hillan provided a Landmark Tree Committee Written Report of findings and discussed evaluation criteria supporting the Landmark Tree Committee’s recommendation for landmark tree status.  He also reported on neighborhood opposition that the Committee heard about the nomination (see explanatory document).

 

Nomination initiators Ms. Maggi Rubenstein, Mr. David Rubenstein, and Ms. Sarah Rubenstein discussed the family’s appreciation for the tree and its uniqueness.  Ms. Sarah Rubenstein Thomas clarified that the opposition to landmark tree status was made by only two neighbors and discussed the tree’s high visibility by adjoining streets. She discussed the possibility of opening the backyard to the native plant walk in the area as suggested by Member Cohen.  Mr. Rubenstein spoke to the concern expressed by neighbors that this tree may pose a falling hazard and stated that the tree is healthy and young for a redwood tree of its particular species.

 

Upon Motion by Member Hillan, second by Member Sherk, the Sequoia sempervirens located at Assessor’s Block 6734, Lot 023; 46 Stillings Avenue was approved for recommendation of landmark tree status to the Board of Supervisors (AYES (6-1): Chair Milne, Vice-Chair D’Agostino, Members Cohen, Hillan, Hillson, and Sherk; NOES:  Member Buck; Absent:  Members Costello, LeBeau, Rodgers and Vargas).

 

5.      Urban Forestry Council Fiscal Year 2010-11 Budget Update.  Written Report by David Assmann, Acting Director (Continued from the February 23, 2010 Meeting) (Information and Discussion). (Explanatory Document:  May 19, 2010 Memo to the Urban Forestry Council re Urban Forest Program Budget)

 

Council Coordinator Hui referred to the written Budget Update Report provided by Department Acting Director Assmann (see explanatory document).  Chair Milne referred to the suggestion that the Planning and Funding Committee devote time to identifying regular funding for the Council. It was suggested that Ms. Shawn Rosenmoss, Department of the Environment Grants and Fundraising Manager, be invited to attend a future Planning and Funding Committee meeting to discuss fundraising and grant opportunities. Planning and Funding Committee Chair Buck stated that he felt that the responsibility should be with the Directors of the departments who are charged by the Urban Forestry Ordinance to provide funding since the Committee is only an advisory body, but understood the budgetary reduction issues that the City departments are facing.

   

6.      Election of Urban Forestry Council Officers. (Discussion and Action) Coordinator Hui reported that at the March Council meeting, Chair Milne and Vice-Chair D’Agostino were nominated for Council Chair and Members Buck and Vice Chair D’Agostino were nominated for Council Vice-Chair. Vice Chair D’Agostino and Chair Milne presented their qualifications for the office of Council Chair.  Committee Members discussed their reason for support of candidates.  It was determined that there would not be a quorum vote for either candidate because of the number of members in attendance.  Upon Motion by Member Buck, second by Member Hillan election of officers was continued to the June 22 meeting, and existing officers would remain in effect (AYES:  Chair Milne, Vice-Chair D’Agostino, Members Buck, Cohen, Hillan, Hillson, and Sherk; Absent: Members Costello, LeBeau, Rodgers and Vargas). Member Hillan urged all interested Council Members to attend the next Council meeting and asked that Council Members submit their recommendations for either candidate in writing.

  

7.      Discussion of Amending the Landmark Tree Ordinance to encompass Groups of Trees.  Sponsor/Speaker:  Member Cohen (Continued from the March 26, 2010 Meeting) (Discussion)

 

Member Cohen presented her ideas for amending the Landmark Tree Ordinance to include groups, groves, stands or series of trees to be landmarked as a whole.  She stated that she would continue to work with Council Coordinator Hui and Member Hillson on revisions to Article 16, Section 802, Definitions and Section 810 about landmarking.  Member Cohen stated that the process would be to finalize revisions, identify a Board of Supervisors sponsor, and request input from the Deputy City Attorney on language.  Chair Milne suggested that this agenda item be discussed at the Landmark Tree Committee meeting.  Continued to the Call of the Chair. 

 

8.      Proposed Changes to the Tree Disclosure Statement.  The Council will vote to propose amendments to the Tree Disclosure Statement.  (Explanatory Document:  Proposed Changes to the Tree Disclosure Statement May 28, 2010 and Tree Disclosure Statement with proposed changes) (Discussion and Possible Action)

 

Planning and Funding Committee Chair Buck distributed an amended version of proposed changes to the Tree Disclosure Statement recommended by the Planning and Funding Committee at their May 20th meeting. He stated that Member Rodgers provided positive preliminary feedback that the revisions may not require an Urban Forestry Council resolution or formal approval by the Planning Department and could potentially be made at the staff level.  Upon Motion by Member Hillson, second by Member Hillan, the proposed changes to the Tree Disclosure Statement were approved with an amendment to capitalize “Certified Arborist” as requested by Member Cohen.  Council Coordinator Hui would forward the proposed changes to Member Rodgers and provide a report back to the Council.  (AYES:  Chair Milne, Vice-Chair D’Agostino, Members Buck, Cohen, Hillan, Hillson, and Sherk; Absent: Members Costello, LeBeau, Rodgers and Vargas).

 

9.      Development and Trees.  The Council will review and discuss tree disclosure and protection requirements when developing near protected trees as it relates to the tree protection zone described for Landmark and Significant trees and consider the Planning and Funding Committee’s Draft Resolution of recommendations. (Discussion and Possible Action). 

 

Chair Buck stated that in addition to the proposed revisions to the Tree Disclosure Statement, additional ideas for landmark tree protection should be discussed at the Committee level.  Vice-Chair D’Agostino stated that the Tree Disclosure Statement is a good first step but that discussion on this agenda item should include additional steps about defining tree protection zones and enforcement.  Chair Milne suggested that the Department of Building Inspection (DBI) be invited to attend a future Council meeting to address comments and questions. This agenda item was forwarded to the Planning and Funding Committee for further discussion and continued to a future Council meeting for a discussion with the Department of Building Inspection.    

 

10.  Greening of Lots where Development is on Hold.  The Council will discuss and vote on the Planning and Funding Committee’s proposed Resolution making recommendations (Discussion and Possible Action).

 

Council Member Buck requested that this agenda item be forwarded back to the Planning and Funding Committee to work on language to bring back to the full Council.  He reported that the Planning and Funding Committee agreed that it would be okay to encourage or support this type of use on some of these sites so they are not neglected, and that the mission of the Council could be emphasized.  This agenda item was forwarded back to the Planning and Funding Committee to work on a Resolution of support.

 

11.  The Potential Effects on the Quality and Funding for the Urban Forest if Tree Maintenance were to be relinquished to Private Property Owners. (Discussion)

 

Member Buck stated that many City agencies are looking at ways to reduce their budgets. The Department of Public Works (DPW) Director is reviewing how the department can deliver its current services with reduced staffing.  This proposal has been before the Board of Supervisors Budget Committee and discussions have been limited to higher-up management at this point. DPW’s Urban Forester has been asked to review how tree relinquishment would work.  Member Buck stated that he would provide an additional report as it becomes available.    

 

12.  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 provided a staff report on the status of landmark tree hearings for 2040 Sutter Street, meetings with the Planning Department on the Recreation and Open Space Element and the Recreation and Park Department on the Urban Forestry Management Plan; finalizing San Francisco Urban Gleaning project agreements, San Francisco Tree Map launch, Environment Now urban forest team, Education (annual Pruning Workshop on June 4), and Climate Action Planning for new urban forest project protocols (see explanatory document for additional information). Discussion followed.

 

13.  Committee Reports: (Informational Reports and Discussion)

Planning & Funding Committee

The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, June 17, 2010, 4:15 p.m. at City Hall, Room 421.

Landmark Tree Ad Hoc Committee Report 

Committee reports were issued during the course of the meeting.  This agenda item was not heard at this time.

 

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

 

Council Chair Milne stated that Supervisor Mar was planning on introducing the Urban Forestry Council’s Pine Pitch Canker Resolution to the Board and asked the Council Coordinator to send an electronic version of the Resolution to Supervisor Mar’s aide.  Council Chair Milne announced that he would be absent for the June 22 Council meeting. He announced that the Deputy City Attorney advised that any number of Council members may be able to attend Committee meetings as long as they do not represent themselves as a Council member and are present as a member of the public.  

 

15.  New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Information and Discussion). Member Sherk inquired whether elections can be held without Chair Milne present.  Council Coordinator Hui reported that she would consult with legal counsel. Vice Chair D’Agostino would consult with the Council Coordinator on a potential future agenda item.  It was announced that Public Utilities Representative Mark Sustarich has resigned his seat and there has been no replacement made at this time.

 

16.  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 present at this time.

 

17.  Adjournment.  The Urban Forestry Council meeting adjourned at 10:34 a.m.

 

Copies of explanatory documents are available to the public at the Department of Environment, 11 Grove Street, San Francisco, California between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., upon request to the Council Secretary at the above address or telephone number 415-355-3709 or via e-mail at Monica.Fish@Sfgov.org.  Explanatory documents are also available at the Council’s meeting or agenda website https://sites.google.com/a/sfenvironment.org/commission/urban-forestry-council/2010-meetings as attachments with each agenda or meeting minutes.

 

The next meeting of the Urban Forestry Council is scheduled for Tuesday, June 22, 2010 at 6:00 p.m. in Room 416, City Hall
 
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 Mei Ling Hui, Council Coordinato
 
*Approved: June 22, 2010
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