City and County of San Francisco
DEpartment of the ENvironment
Thursday, February 21, 2008, 4:00 p.m.
Department of the Environment, 11 Grove Street, Eco-Center
San Francisco, CA 94102
COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Carla Short (Chair), David Habert, Milton Marks, Lena Miller, Terry Milne, Kelly Quirke, Bonnie Ora Sherk.
1. Call to Order and Roll Call. The Urban Forestry Council Planning and Funding Committee meeting was called to order at 4:10 p.m. Present: Chair Short; Members Habert, Milne, Quirke (4:20), and Sherk. Absent: Members Marks and Miller.
2. Approval of Minutes of the January 17, 2008 Urban Forestry Council Planning and Funding Committee Regular Meeting (Discussion and Action). Upon Motion by Chair Short and second by Member Milne, the January 17, 2008 Meeting Minutes were approved (AYES: Chair Short, Members Habert, Milne, and Sherk) (Absent: Members Marks, Miller and Quirke) (Explanatory document: Approved Minutes of the January 17, 2008 Meeting).
3. Review of Council Bylaws, Environmental Code Chapter 12, and Responses from 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 January 17, 2008 Meeting.)
Chair Short reported that the proposed Board of Supervisors legislation to change the membership composition of the Urban Forestry Council would have an impact on the Planning Committee’s discussion of how to strengthen the Council’s role. Member Milne distributed a copy of the proposed legislation at today’s meeting (Explanatory Document Proposed Legislation). Deputy City Attorney Cabrera indicated that the Committee could discuss the legislation at today’s meeting only in the context of how it relates to review of the Bylaws. Chair Short stated that the intent of the Bylaws is to call out specific focuses and responsibilities for the Council. The Planning and Funding Committee at today’s meeting was intending to discuss how those responsibilities would relate to making the Council more relevant. Chair Short indicated that she had not received a response from other agencies to her request for general information. It was recommended that the Committee and/or Council weigh in on agency area plans and other planning initiatives as well as make specific recommendations regarding Planning Department projects that are moving forward, such as the Urban Forest Master Plan.
Chair Short felt that the Council in the past year had not been guided by the purposes and responsibilities called out in their Bylaws. Member Sherk stated that the proposed legislation would make the Council ineffective as it does not include agency representation which she stated was important in terms of providing a specific knowledge base for City activities, planting, and maintaining the urban forest. Deputy City Attorney Cabrera recommended that specific discussion of the proposed legislation be placed on the Council’s agenda or a subsequent Committee meeting for discussion and not be discussed during this agenda item. It was stated that the proposed legislation was introduced and would be scheduled for a future Board of Supervisors Rules Committee meeting. Member Milne requested that the legislation be placed on the March full Council agenda for discussion.
Chair Short stated that it is relevant for the Council to have influence over agencies that are responsible for actual implementation. It was recommended that the Planning and Funding Committee schedule quarterly reviews of their purposes and responsibilities to make sure these functions are being addressed. Member Milne recommended that future agenda items be structured around the Bylaws outline of purposes and responsibilities instead of continuing this agenda item. Member Sherk expressed her support for quarterly reviews of the Bylaws purposes and responsibilities and adding to them if necessary.
Public Comment: Urban Forestry Council Member Blair inquired whether any of the purposes and responsibilities outlined in the Bylaws had been implemented. Chair Short and Member Milne reported that several key areas had been worked on; e.g. the Recommended Street Tree List, the Urban Forest Plan, education and outreach, etc. Council Member Blair inquired about the Board of Supervisors process for adopting legislation. Deputy City Attorney Cabrera stated that legislation that is pending before the Board (introduced or at Committee level) does not take effect until the full Board and Mayor have adopted the legislation.
4. New Business/Future Agenda Items (Discussion).
· Coordinator Hui reported that Member Rodgers had directed her to the project manager for the Eastern Neighborhood Community Plan, sponsored by the Planning Department, and she has requested an informational presentation of the overall plan for the Council. Coordinator Hui reported that she has not received a response to her request and has asked Member Rodgers to help schedule a speaker. Chair Short suggested that this topic be brought before the full Council in March and then to the Planning and Funding Committee if requested.
· Member Sherk requested that the Planning and Funding Committee at their March meeting review the opportunity of framing the Islais Creek Watershed with trees and other plantings and then forward to the full Council as a discussion item.
· Chair Short suggested discussing funding at the next meeting as the City is in the middle of its budget process. Member Quirke suggested including an update on City budget proposals and cuts that may affect urban forestry funding.
Member Quirke requested that the Planning Department present an update on the Urban Forest Plan at the March 28 Council meeting. Chair Short reported that the Planning Department is evaluating consultant proposals, has held interviews, and will be choosing a consultant. Member Habert indicated that the Council has handed over the entire process to the Planning Department and does not seem to have input into how the consultant selection process is working or in reviewing proposals. Member Habert inquired whether the Planning Department would be scheduling a community informational presentation before they select a consultant. Chair Short reported that the Request for Proposal (RFP), which is a public document, includes a section that calls for input and coordination with the Urban Forestry Council. Chair Short advised that Coordinator Hui sent the RFP to all Council members by email, but there was no request to discuss it at the Committee. It was stated that the Planning Department is in the process of making a decision and as soon as they have chosen someone, it is up to the Council to request a presentation. Coordinator Hui reported that the Planning Department’s Project Manager on the Urban Forest Master Plan, Mr. Andres Power, has made it clear that he is expecting Urban Forestry Council input and support. A request was made for Coordinator Hui to invite Mr. Power and the consultant to a future Council meeting.
Member Milne advised that the Urban Forest Master Plan would be incorporated into the City’s General Plan. Member Sherk stated that the Council should be providing input into the Master Plan’s tree selection palate as there tends to be a limited range of trees selected, which is problematic for the good of diversity and for seeing native species incorporated into the list. Member Sherk voiced her concern that the Better Streets Plan also had a limited selection of trees, and her sense is that the Master Planning document may have limitations as well.
Department Staff member Anne Eng stated that the Urban Forest Master Plan consultant team would be requesting input from stakeholders. Chair Short reported that there would be a public process.
Member Blair inquired about the Urban Forest Master Plan process and whether it would be incorporated into the General Plan. Chair Short stated that the Planning Department at the Urban Forestry Council’s behest started working on an Urban Forest Master Plan. It was explained that the Planning Department is hiring consultants to write a planning document that will be reviewed by the Council and the public, and the goal is that the Plan would be incorporated into the City’s General Plan as called for in the Council’s Bylaws. Member Blair asked whether the Plan would be discussed at the Urban Forestry Council. Chair Short stated that the Planning Department would be holding public meetings, but does not know how the Council would be incorporated into the process. Coordinator Hui reported that the Urban Forestry Council had previously passed a Resolution urging the Planning Department to hire an outside consultant to work on the Urban Forest Master Plan. Coordinator Hui explained that the RFP provides an overview of all of the work that will be covered.
Council Member Blair announced that there would be a Civic Center green slow-food festival on Labor Day. Council Member Blair asked whether Recreation and Park Department might be interested in creating a community food garden. Chair Short stated that community food gardens still exist in San Francisco. Member Milne recommended calling the Recreation and Park Department as they are in charge of City community gardens. Member Sherk stated that there are also school gardens that grow food.
Council Member Blair expressed her concern that there would be protected and significant trees cut down for the new Park Merced development. Chair Short explained that Park Merced contains public rights of way, but much of it is privately-held land. It was reported that fines had been issued to the developer for removing significant trees, and they have paid most fines. Chair Short stated that the owner did not know there was a significant tree provision, and there will be a public process before any additional trees are removed. Member Blair discussed her participation in the Park Merced Central Area Vision Plan and asked how to access information about which trees are significant before they are cut down. Chair Short explained that any tree within ten feet of a right of way is significant, and a permit is required to cut down the tree. Significant means it is on private land and within 10 feet of a public right of way. It was explained that the Recreation and Park Department has their own public process for tree removal within their property.
5. 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. Council Member Blair stated that the Urban Forestry Council and Urban Forest Plan had been mentioned in the brochure “Building a Bright Future” and recommended inviting Mr. Alexis Harte, the previous Urban Forestry Council Coordinator, to the landmark tree celebration.
6. Adjournment. The Planning and Funding Committee meeting adjourned at 5:05 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: March 20, 2008