01.17 Approved Minutes

City and County of San Francisco

DEpartment of the ENvironment




Thursday, January 17, 2008, 4:15 p.m.

City Hall, Room 421
San Francisco, CA 94102


*The Planning and Funding Committee’s Regularly Scheduled Meeting on Thursday, January 17, 2008 at 4:00 p.m., 11 Grove Street was rescheduled to 4:15 p.m. and held in Room 421, City Hall.


COMMITTEE MEMBERS:  Carla Short (Chair), David Habert, Milton Marks, Lena Miller, Terry Milne, Kelly Quirke, Bonnie Ora Sherk


Order of Business


1.      Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Urban Forestry Council Planning and Funding Committee meeting was called to order at 4:20 p.m.  Present: Chair Short; Members Habert, Milne, and Sherk. Absent:  Member Miller; Excused:  Members Marks and Quirke.


2.      Approval of Minutes of the December 20, 2007 Urban Forestry Council Planning and Funding Committee Regular Meeting (Discussion and Action). Upon Motion by Member Milne and second by Member Short, the Minutes were approved without objection (AYES:  Chair Short, Members Habert, Milne and Sherk) (Absent:  Members Marks, Miller and Quirke). (Explanatory document: Approved Minutes of the December 20, 2007 Meeting). 


3.      Permeable Landscaping and Public Open-Space Gardens.  Resolution recommending that the Urban Forestry Council in conjunction with other city agencies and community groups or individuals design and install three permeable landscaping and public open-space gardens located on public rights-of-way that incorporate Landmark and/or “significant” trees in 2008.  The Committee will make recommendations to the Council (Discussion and Action) (Explanatory Documents:  Draft Resolution and Design and Implementation Tasks)

SPEAKER:  Urban Forestry Council Member Jocelyn Cohen


Urban Forestry Council Member Cohen discussed the concepts, timeline, and implementation tasks associated with installing permeable landscaping and public open space gardens on public rights-of-way that incorporate landmark and/or significant trees.  It was stated that there are a number of City entities that are involved with sidewalk greening and have different approaches; e.g., the Urban Forestry Council, San Francisco Tree Council, Living Library, Plant*SF.  Council Member Cohen stated that she has been working on the idea of sidewalk pocket park gardens for approximately nine years.  It was proposed that the Urban Forestry Council (1) guide the creation of three model or pilot sites in conjunction with other City entities with a focus on landmark or significant trees, and (2) work on determining what the cost would be in order to set up guidelines for others. 


Member Sherk asked if the proposal was to have the Council raise the money or to just endorse the concept.  Council Member Cohen stated that the Council had previously endorsed the concept and suggested that now is the time to actually guide the project through fruition by means of (1) a Task Force, (2) soliciting funds through different entities, or (3) working in collaboration with other City entities and stakeholders; e.g. Department of Public Works (DPS), Water District, etc.   Member Sherk indicated that her work has opportunities for creating examples of pocket parks with street trees. 


Chair Short provided the following comments:


1.      It is a good idea to target specific trees but discussed the damage that can be caused to larger trees when removing the sidewalk around them. It was suggested that tree species be examined in order to avoid possible root disturbance. 

2.      Identify in agreements the entity that would be responsible for long-term maintenance.

3.      Prioritize which Department would receive the funding to sponsor the project.

4.      The pilot project should be an open fair process where people can submit their ideas and should be fair as to who is chosen.

5.      Funding would not be a problem and could offer ideas on who would be interested in contributing.  It was stated that the bigger challenge would be the location and identifying an entity to do the work.

6.      Work with community-driven/neighborhood groups that have done large-scale landscaping projects to take the lead with support and guidance from the Council.

7.      The Council is an advisory body, not really an implementing body, but could be used as a mechanism to promote existing projects and to remind people that there is an urban forest under-story in addition to trees.


Member Milne endorsed the concept of blending the landmark and significant trees into the green sidewalk movement.  Chair Short stated that most landmark trees are located on medians and significant trees on private property so it would be limited to only a few landmark trees in sidewalk areas.  Member Milne suggested the Stanyan Street landmark tree and the 3rd Street Pepper tree as potential candidates for the pilot project.  Member Habert stated that he would like to see this program be geographically spread throughout the City in order to incorporate additional greening, as the City has too much concrete.  It was recommended that adequate space for trunks or roots be provided for in the design.


Urban Forestry Coordinator Hui asked who would be assigned to manage the project site installations. Chair Short suggested that work be coordinated through an established group with the Council providing support.  Member Milne suggested that Coordinator Hui research and recommend neighborhoods in which to promote the pilot projects.  It was also suggested that the Council review the parameters and survey possible locations and trees. Chair Short stated that there are opportunities for funding for interested groups who would be interested in managing the projects. 


Member Habert recommended contacting Ms. Rosey Jencks, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), who is in charge of a program to enhance the amount of permeable soil in the City and making the sewer system responsive to the native hydrology of this peninsula.  It was stated that the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency does a lot of work in the southeast quadrant of the City, which could possibly be another source of funding.  Member Habert also recommended identifying important corridors that contain landmark trees or groups of potential landmark trees that tell stories about the City and its history.  Member Sherk discussed the concept of creating a narrative walk as it relates to framing watersheds and indicated she would be bringing the Islais Creek opportunity to the Council.


Public Comment:  Urban Forestry Council Member Blair stated that she was impressed with Council Member Cohen’s excellent work on this project and answers to questions from novices.  It was stated that streets and sidewalks make up about 25% of our City and commended the idea of working with a community group.  Council Member Blair suggested inquiring about funding for these projects from the Planning Department’s Better Streets Plan effort. Council Member Cohen stated that (1) the Association of Landscape Designers would be interested in doing prototype designs that property owners could use; (2) other City entities through the Urban Forestry Council may want to donate things or be involved in work they are already currently doing, such as taking out concrete, etc; and (3) arborists may want to be involved in pruning big trees or pruning clubs could be involved in pruning smaller trees.


Upon Motion by Member Milne and second by Member Habert, Resolution  File No. 2008-02-UFC was approved for recommendation to the Council without objection (AYES:  Chair Short, Members Habert, Milne and Sherk) (Absent:  Members Marks, Miller and Quirke).


4.      Review of Council Bylaws, Environmental Code Chapter 12, and Listing of other City Advisory Councils.  How to strengthen the Urban Forestry Council’s role after review of documents and through consultation with other City Advisory Councils (Discussion). (Explanatory Documents:  Urban Forestry Council Bylaws and Environment Code Chapter 12) (Continued from the December 20, 2007 Meeting.)


Continued to the February 21, 2008 meeting.


5.      Role of the Urban Forestry Council’s Environmental Assistant.  Discussion of the Committee’s vision for the role for the Environmental Assistant and recommendations to the Department of the Environment (Discussion and Action) (Continued from the December 20, 2007 Meeting).


Upon Motion by Chair Short and second by Member Milne, the following recommendations were made for the Urban Forestry Council’s Environmental Assistant role to forward to the full Council at their February meeting for approval (AYES:  Chair Short, Members Habert, Milne and Sherk) (Absent:  Members Marks, Miller and Quirke).


·        Hold regular meetings with Supervisors aides and the Mayors Office of Greening to keep them apprised of Council activities.  It was suggested that as much as possible, information should be relevant to the Supervisor’s District.

·        Make sure that the Council receives neighborhood plans and regular presentations from the Planning Department and other City agencies as well as staying current on all activities so the Council has an opportunity to provide feedback.

·        Schedule a discussion with the Council on how regular work requests should be handled—either through the Chair or a form reviewed by the Chair.  Schedule a regular meeting between the Chair and Assistant on work requests after the monthly Council meeting.


Coordinator Hui suggested telephone or email communication relaying a monthly status report of activities as an alternative to monthly meetings.  It was stated that If there were something specific to be discussed or worked on, that would be the time to schedule a meeting.  Members discussed the importance of a staff relationship with Supervisor’s Aides and the Greening Director.  Coordinator Hui stated that there are not always concrete outcomes at meetings so monthly meetings would not always be effective.  It was stated that an invitation would be extended to the new Greening Director to attend the landmark tree outreach on the Octavia Bush Street trees.


Public Comment:  Ms. Eng suggested providing individual district greening updates to the district Supervisor and selecting a different district to work on from month to month.  It was suggested that the Council provide Coordinator Hui issues to report on.  Chair Short suggested making the Supervisor aware of trees that are nominated in their district if they are not the one making the nomination.  Coordinator Hui indicated that she has compiled a list of Aides and their emails and would send all landmark tree notices to each Supervisor.  A special note to the District Supervisor where the tree is nominated would also be transmitted. 


Public Comment:  Member Blair asked how the Council would participate in the content of meetings with Supervisors and the Mayor’s Office of Greening.  Committee Member Milne stated that a report would be given on Council activities from the month’s meeting and the Council’s interest in future activities.


Chair Short discussed several of the Council’s Work Plan recommendations and indicated that if the items were approved, it would be part of the Assistant’s work plan.


1.      Working to raise awareness about the need for maintenance of trees, both those that are being planted and those that exist.

2.      Recommend that the Board nominate a certain number of trees for landmark status.

3.      Recommendations to the Board on requiring certification for anyone that works on a tree under City jurisdiction.  The Planning and Funding Committee would consider recommendations with support from the Assistant. 

4.      Create a City Pine pitch canker policy.


Member Sherk suggested that the Assistant work on expanding the list of street trees and research the cultural significance of certain trees.  Coordinator Hui indicated she would be involved in the new Urban Forest Plan Request for Proposal that includes a proposed scope for identifying recommended species for different locations.


Public Comment:  Council Member Cohen suggested quarterly meetings with legislative aides.  Council Member Cohen discussed a program in Los Angeles that is successful in urban forest improvements by promoting enthusiasm from each district through competitiveness.

Public Comment:  Ms. Eng suggested a better coordination process for work requests to Coordinator Hui through a list of priorities and the work plan. It was recommended that the Chair after each monthly Council meeting relay work requests to the Coordinator.  Chair Short suggested that a request form be created geared towards specific projects.


6.      Review of Street Tree List adopted by the Urban Forestry Council in 2006 (Discussion and Possible Action) (Explanatory Documents:  Resolution 012-06-UFC adopting Street Tree List and Recommended Street Tree List) (Continued from the December 20, 2007 Meeting).


Coordinator Hui explained that it is a requirement that the Street Tree List be reviewed and adopted each year.  Chair Short indicated that the Council’s work plan would expand beyond street trees to parks and backyards.  Member Sherk recommended adding explanatory material on the cultural significance of trees. 


Upon Motion by Member Milne and second by Chair Short, the 2006 Street Tree List was approved with a request to create a 2008 Resolution adopting the Street Tree List adding a clause that states that it is possible to make amendments throughout the year (AYES:  Chair Short, Members Habert, Milne and Sherk) (Absent:  Members Marks, Miller and Quirke).


7.      New Business/Future Agenda Items.  (Discussion)  Council Secretary Fish reported that the Council would consider amending the Bylaws at their January 25 meeting to account for the Planning and Funding Committee’s new meeting location of City Hall, Room 421, and meeting time of 4:15 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.


8.      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.


9.      Adjournment.  The Planning and Funding Committee meeting adjourned at 5:46 p.m.



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:  February 21, 2008

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