02.13 Approved Minutes

URBAN FORESTRY COUNCIL
LANDMARK TREE COMMITTEE

 

REGULAR MEETING

APPROVED MINUTES

 

Tuesday, February 13, 2007, 4:00 P.M.

 

City Hall, Room 421

One Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place

San Francisco, CA

 

 

COMMITTEE MEMBERS:  Mike Boss (Chair), Carolyn Blair, Steve Griswold, David Habert and Mark Sustarich

                                                                  

Urban Forestry Council Associate:  Grace Ma

 

Council Secretary:  Monica Fish

ORDER OF BUSINESS

 

1.      CALL TO ORDER AND ROLL CALL. The meeting was called to order at 4:02 p.m.  Present:  Chair Boss, Members Blair (4:07 p.m.), Griswold, Habert, and Sustarich.

 

2.      ACTION: Adoption of minutes of the January 9, 2007 Urban Forestry Council Landmark Tree Committee Regular Meeting. Upon motion by Chair Boss and second by Member Habert, the January 9, 2007 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection. (Absent:  Member Blair) (Explanatory Document: Approved Minutes of the January 9, 2007 Regular Meeting)

 

3.      DISCUSSION and ACTION: Hearing on Nominations for Landmark Tree Status. The Landmark Tree Committee held a hearing to determine whether the trees nominated at the following addresses meet the criteria for designation as landmark trees:

 

holly (Ilex altaclarensis) at 733 27th Avenue (Explanatory Documents: Board of Supervisors Resolution of Intent to Nominate), Nomination Form, Support Documentation and Staff Evaluation Form).  

 

California buckeye (Aesculus californica) at 730 28th Avenue (Explanatory Documents: Board of Supervisors Resolution of Intent to Nominate, Nomination Form, Support Documentation).  

 

New Zealand Christmas Tree (Metrosideros excelsus) in front of 1221 Stanyan Street (Explanatory Documents: Department of the Environment Nomination Form and Photo).

 

Other Explanatory Documents:  Landmark Tree Committee Evaluation Forms.      

 

At the conclusion of the hearing, the Landmark Tree Committee voted on whether to approve or reject the nominations and adopted written findings to support its decision to forward to the Urban Forestry Council.  The Council will forward approved nominations to the Board of Supervisors for further consideration.

 

Chair Boss explained that the Landmark Tree Committee makes recommendations to the Urban Forestry Council to either approve or reject landmark tree nominations.  The Urban Forestry Council then forwards its recommendation to the Board of Supervisors who designates the landmark status. The Board of Supervisors does not have to abide by the Urban Forestry Council’s recommendation, but if the Council does not recommend landmark tree status, the tree does not go forth to the Board of Supervisors.  It is the Landmark Tree Committee’s job to evaluate whether the trees in question meet the criteria for landmark status and does not get involved in property rights, building permit, or other neighborhood dispute issues.  It was advised that there are other bodies for this kind of work.

 

holly (Ilex altaclarensis) at 733 27th Avenue

 

Staff Analysis

 

Urban Forestry Specialist Ma indicated that Supervisor McGoldrick nominated the tree at 733 27th Avenue for landmark tree status and presented a staff report, tree evaluation, and photos.  It was stated that the Arborist Report was included in the Committee’s packet.  Ms. Ma reported that Ms. Cheryl Schultz, an adjacent neighbor, asserted that she has a petition with 64 neighbor signatures in support of landmark tree status that she had submitted to Supervisor McGoldrick’s office and would forward to the Urban Forestry Council for their review at the February 27 meeting.

 

 

Property Owner

 

Ms. Laurie Quach stated that she is not opposed to landmarking the tree, has no intention of harming the tree, but that her main concern is that landmarking does not present a financial burden.  Chair Boss stated that his understanding is that there would not be any financial encumbrances to the owner in saving or protecting the tree, but the tree could not be cut down without applying for a permit.  Ms. Ma explained that Ms. Quach’s concern is that if the tree receives landmark tree status, a certified arborist would have to be hired to create a Tree Protection Plan to include in their redevelopment plan.  Ms. Quach asked if the Urban Forestry Council could provide guidance if the tree were landmarked.  Chair Boss stated that the Council could provide guidance, but not financial assistance. 

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Discussion and Action by Committee

 

Member Sustarich and Chair Boss discussed their tree evaluation reports and summarized findings.  Both questioned the Arborist Report’s findings regarding the 100 year old age of the tree.  Member Sustarich requested that the property owner provide specific tree care in order to preserve the holly and neighboring buckeye tree.  Member Habert stated that if a tree is not landmarked, it does not mean that it should be cut down, and the Council should seek tree protection for trees that are not landmarked.  Member Blair inquired about planned construction on the property.  Committee Members gave recommendations to Ms. Quach on how to protect the tree during construction.

 

Vote:  5-0 Recommend Rejecting Landmark Tree Status

Upon Motion by Chair Boss and second by Member Sustarich the Landmark Tree Committee voted to recommend rejecting landmark tree status to the Urban Forestry Council for the holly (Ilex altaclarensis) at 733 27th Avenue without objection.  (AYES:  Chair Boss, Members Blair, Habert, Griswold, and Sustarich; NOES:  None)

(Explanatory Document:  Written Findings )

 

Committee Members agreed to Member Griswold’s suggestion that in the future, a “yes” vote would mean in favor of landmark tree status and a “no” vote would be to reject landmark tree status. 

 

California buckeye (Aesculus californica) at 730 28th Avenue

 

Staff Report

 

Urban Forestry Specialist Ma advised that the property owner, Ms. Valerie Louie, supports the nomination and is planning to attend the February 27 Council meeting.  Ms. Ma stated that Ms. Cheryl Schultz, a neighbor, expressed her support for nomination and indicated that there was a neighborhood petition in favor of landmark tree status that will be presented for the Council meeting.  It was stated that Supervisor McGoldrick nominated the tree for landmark status and the nomination included photos, the same arborist report as for the 733 27th Avenue, a property owner support for landmarking letter, and a letter from the Department of Public Works to Ms. Louie indicating that the nomination took place. Ms. Ma presented her tree evaluation, photos, and summarized findings.

 

Affected Property Owner

 

Ms. Quach stated that the tree is a beautiful, is next to her holly tree, and asked if she had to remove any trees in order to preserve the buckeye.  Member Sustarich advised that she would not have to remove any surrounding trees.

 

Discussion and Action by Committee

 

Chair Boss and Member Sustarich presented their tree evaluation reports and findings.

Vote:  Approve to Recommend Landmark Tree Status (4-1)

Upon Motion by Member Blair and second by Chair Boss, the Landmark Tree Committee approved recommending landmark tree status to the Urban Forestry Council for the California buckeye (Aesculus californica) at 730 28th Avenue

(AYES:  Chair Boss, Members Blair, Griswold, and Habert; NOES:  Member Sustarich).  (Explanatory Document:  Written Findings)

 

New Zealand Christmas Tree (Metrosideros excelsus) in front of 1221 Stanyan Street

 

Staff Report

 

Urban Forestry Specialist Ma advised that the Department of the Environment Director Jared Blumenfeld nominated this tree for landmark tree status.  Ms. Ma advised that because the tree is a street tree, it is considered a significant tree, and a permit would be required to remove the tree.  It was stated that a letter was sent to the property owner at 1221 Stanyan Street, but there was no response.  Ms. Ma reported on her tree evaluation report and advised that the tree was profiled in Trees of San Francisco, authored by Mr. Michael Sullivan. 

 

Discussion and Action by Committee

 

Chair Boss discussed his tree evaluation report and indicated strong support for landmark tree status.  It was advised that the founder of the California Horticultural Society planted the tree and is of historical significance.

 

Public Comment

 

Mr. Terry Milne, Urban Forestry Council Chair stated that Mr. Sullivan recommended this tree for landmark tree status, and that the history of the tree is well documented in Mr. Sullivan’s book.  Mr. Milne advised that the tree is the center of neighborhood appreciation and is included as a stop in neighborhood tours.

 

Vote:  Approve to Recommend Landmark Tree Status (5-0)

Upon Motion by Chair Boss and second by Member Blair, the New Zealand Christmas Tree (Metrosideros excelsus) in front of 1221 Stanyan Street was recommended for landmark tree status to the Urban Forestry Council (AYES:  Chair Boss, Members Blair, Griswold, Habert and Sustarich; NOES:  None)  (Explanatory Document:  Written Findings)  

   

  1. DISCUSSION and POSSIBLE ACTION:  The Committee considered and voted on a revised evaluation form for trees that have been nominated for landmark status. (Explanatory Document: Evaluation form Jan07))

 

Member Boss presented a revised version of the Landmark Tree Evaluation Form for the Committee’s recommendation.  It was stated that the new form matches the criteria for landmark tree evaluation that the Board of Supervisors approved.  A discussion was held on elements of the form.  The following amendments were recommended:

 

Scientific name:  increase the size of the line to the end of the margin

Common name:  move to the next line after “Scientific name”

Rare:  Change the “Yes” and “No” fields to ____Rare ___ Uncommon___ Common (leave “Other” in)

Size:  ____Large   ____Moderate ____Small

  Notable size (for example, height, canopy width, and diameter) compared to other trees of the same species

 Age:  Significantly advanced in age compared to other trees of the same species

Tree Density: ___Low tree density ___ Moderate tree density ___ High tree density

Add “Other Comments” or “Summary” (three or four lines)

Add “Conclusion”

 

Vote (5-0) Approved with Amendments

Upon Motion by Member Griswold and second by Member Habert, the revised Landmark Tree Evaluation Form was approved with amendments to forward to the Urban Forestry Council for their consideration and vote at the February 27, 2007 meeting (AYES:  Chair Boss, Members Blair, Griswold, Habert and Sustarich; NOES:  None).

 

Chair Boss recommended that Committee Members submit their evaluation forms at the conclusion of the meeting instead of before in order to consider additional testimony and documentation presented at the meeting. Member Blair stated that the forms would be more useful if they were submitted before the meeting so that other members would have an opportunity for review.

 

  1. DISCUSSION and POSSIBLE ACTION:  Public Outreach Plan for Landmarking of Trees (Continued from the January 9, 2007 Meeting).  Committee Members reviewed an outline of an outreach letter to the Board of Supervisors and Department Heads for consideration at a future Urban Forestry Council meeting.    (Explanatory Document:  Draft Outreach Letter Outline)

 

Member Habert discussed the draft outline of the public outreach letter that describes the purpose, answers questions, and describes the method of outreach.  Committee Members agreed that each member of the Board of Supervisors and Department Heads should be the recipients of the letter as sending a letter to all city residents may cause more of a response than can be handled and could cause property dispute issues to arise.  Additional methods of outreach discussed included a placement of an article on tree landmarking in the Chronicle and Examiner or other newspapers, the web, and to create a press release when the Urban Forestry Council or Board approves nominations.

Urban Forestry Specialist Ma recommended that a newspaper article be considered once the Board of Supervisors has ratified multiple landmark trees and then photos, and interviews with homeowners and nominators can be included. 

 

Committee members discussed notifying key organizations that deal with trees such as Recreation and Park Department, horticultural societies, Sierra Club, Friends of the Urban Forest, San Francisco Unified School District, etc.  Member Blair discussed the February 12 Commission on the Environment Policy Committee meeting discussion on the topic of outreaching to schools to heighten children’s awareness of trees through educational programs. 

 

Member Habert stated that he would prepare a letter for the next Landmark Tree Committee meeting in March.

  

  1. DISCUSSION:  Tree Replacement Policy.  Chair Boss recommended that Members Blair and Habert discuss this item with the Urban Forestry Council Chair to determine if it should be discussed at the Planning and Policy Committee or the full Council.  Member Griswold recommended that this item be better defined.

 

  1. DISCUSSION: New Business.  Chair Boss suggested that the Landmark Tree Committee write a memo to the Planning and Policy Committee Chair recommending amendments to the Ordinance.  Recommendations made included (1) any individual Supervisor has the authority to nominate a tree in any district without approval from the full Board; (2) change the 180 day protection to 270 days; and (3) protection extended through failure to act or if no action is taken, the tree is automatically landmarked.

 

  1. FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS.  Revise landmark tree nomination form for discussion and action and redefining landmark tree evaluation criteria.

 

  1. PUBLIC COMMENT:  Members of the public may address the Committee on matters that are within the Committee’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda.  There was no public comment at this time.

 

  1. ADJOURNMENT.  The Landmark Tree Committee meeting adjourned at 6:30 p.m.

 

The next Landmark Tree Committee meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 13, 2007 at 4:00 p.m., Room 421, City Hall.

 

Respectfully submitted by,

 

Monica Fish

Council Secretary

 

Adopted:   March 13, 2007

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