08.21 Approved Minutes

City and County of San Francisco

DEpartment of the ENvironment




Thursday, August 21, 2008, 4:15 p.m.

City Hall, Room 421, One Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place

San Francisco, CA 94102


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 Planning and Funding Committee meeting convened at 4:25 p.m.  Present:  Chair Short, Members Habert, Milne, Quirke and Sherk (4:35); Excused:  Members Marks and Miller.


2. Approval of Minutes of the June 19, 2008 Urban Forestry Council Planning and Funding Committee Regular Meeting. (Discussion and Action) Upon Motion by Member Milne and second by Member Habert, without objection, the June 19, 2008 Meeting Minutes were approved as written (Absent:  Members Marks and Miller) (Explanatory Document: June 19, 2008 Approved Minutes).


3. Review and Adoption of the Annual Urban Forest Report for Recommendation to the Urban Forestry Council. (Explanatory Document: Annual Report 2008 Draft) (Discussion and Action) SPEAKER: Council Coordinator Mei Ling Hui


Coordinator Hui distributed an amended version of the Annual Report Amended Draft and explained revisions made from the original version (see above explanatory document).  It was reported that Ms. Astrid Haryati, Director of Greening, Mayor’s Office would be contacting agencies that did not respond to the survey to request a response and that any additional information received after the due date of September 1 would be added as an addendum to the report. 


Chair Short recommended adjusting the number of approximate planting figures to reflect recent plantings.  Member Sherk reported that the Living Library had planted approximately 200 trees on school district property that was not reflected in the Annual Report figures.  Member Sherk recommended contacting Mr. David Golden, Chief of Facilities to advise him of the discrepancy.  Chair Short suggested adding a statement that the figures are based on survey responses submitted by agencies. Member Sherk reported that the SFUSD had received bond funding for greening and planting trees that should also be reflected in the report.   Chair Short suggested that a line be added that states that there may be additional trees that were planted in San Francisco that were not reported in these counts.


Coordinator Hui inquired whether the Committee wanted to include the Council’s attendance report in the Annual Report as had been done in the past.  Committee members did not feel it was necessary to include the report as it was already provided under a separate reporting system being provided to the Mayor and Board of Supervisors annually in July.


Chair Short recommended that the tables that she provided on behalf of the Department of Public Works should include a note that the figures are based on reported numbers. It was suggested that an effort be made next year to review the studies and update the numbers or decide not to re-report on the same studies again.  Member Sherk and Chair Short discussed adding a statement that “the more recent tree planting efforts are focused on incorporating ecological considerations including linkages and place with appropriate species selection.”  Member Quirke noted that the number of available planted locations does not include the number of underground utilities that might void a tree that could be planted there.  Members provided additional editorial comments.   


Public Comment:  Ms. Carolyn Blair recommended deleting the sentence that states “At the meeting, the Recreation and Park Department representative cautioned that assessment studies are useful for a limited span of time following their completion and that if unavailability of necessary resources to create an action plan and perform work based on information provided to the land manager would cause the study to have little use value.”  Chair Short stated that the statement should not be edited because it what was actually stated. Member Milne recommended condensing the paragraph and provided additional editorial comments.  Ms. Blair inquired whether DPW reported on the number of trees they had planted and maintained.  Chair Short stated that report was provided.  Ms. Blair inquired whether the survey that was sent to agencies includes how many trees were planted and maintained in this year.  Coordinator Hui reported that the Committee reviewed the survey before it was sent out, and that Member Sherk and Chair Short were directed to provide input into the survey. Coordinator Hui reported that the question on the number of trees planted and maintained is included in the survey. 


Upon Motion by Member Milne and second by Member Sherk, without objection, the Urban Forestry Council Annual Report was approved with amendments recommended throughout the meeting and with direction not to include the Council’s yearly attendance report (Absent:  Members Marks and Miller). (Explanatory Document: Urban Forestry Council Annual Report as Amended)  Note: The attached draft has all of the edits requested by the Committee, barring a change to the estimated number for available planted locations, as staff did not receive that information. These pending changes are noted by an orange colored font and underlined.


4. Pursuing Better Tree Protection on Large-Scale Development Projects. (Discussion) SPEAKER:  Chair Short


Chair Short reported that pursuing better tree protection on large-scale development projects is an action item that the Council may want to consider this year as part of their collaboration efforts on the Urban Forest Master Plan.  It was stated that Urban Forest Master Plan efforts would include review of better tree protection on these types of projects.  Chair Short explained that many trees are being lost as a result of large-scale City development projects, and Member Habert had previously mentioned the lack of protection on several redevelopment projects.  It was stated that laws may not currently exist to protect trees on these large-scale projects.  Some of the projects add housing to the city and are going to provide economic stimulus to the neighborhood, such as the Hunters Point Shipyard project where hundreds of trees went down, and there was little public process and no inherent protection given to those trees.  Chair Short stated that the Urban Forest Ordinance only protects public lands, significant trees that are close to the right of way, or landmark trees on private land.  It was recommended that other jurisdictions’ laws that govern private land be reviewed.  It was explained that even Oakland has stronger private land tree protections than San Francisco. 


Chair Short reported that the San Francisco Planning Department now requires a Tree Disclosure Statement, which requires that a disclosure be given on large trees on a property.  However, if the trees are not protected trees, the Planning Department does not require protection of those trees.  Protection is only required during construction if the property owner states that the tree is to be retained.  It is not a requirement to protect trees unless there is an objection and community process around the objection.   


Member Milne reported that several of the trees that were torn down for the Hunters Point Shipyard project were significant trees within ten feet of a right-of-way.  It was explained that the Hunters Point Plan was approved before the Significant Tree Ordinance was adopted.  Member Milne recommended that the Council find out about development projects that may have plans to tear down large trees when they are in the planning stage so that an effort can be made to appear at Planning Commission or Board of Supervisors meetings to express support for maintaining the trees.  Member Milne explained that this effort would be a first step to contemplate on redevelopment projects as a contract cannot be signed before the Board of Supervisors votes to approve a plan. If the contract says to cut down trees, then nothing can be done about it. 


Chair Short stated that a legal mechanism could be pursued to insure better tree protection.  A discussion was held on the development project located at Harrison and Third Street, where the disposition of 22 magnolias street trees are scheduled for a hearing at the Department of Public Works on August 25.  Chair Short explained that there were originally 28 trees proposed for removal, 6 of them are in poor condition and those were approved for removal.  Twenty-two of the trees are very nice magnolia trees and those trees are being heard on August 25. The developer could appeal the Department of Public Works decision to the Board of Appeals if it does not go in his favor.


Member Quirke stated that better tree protection would be a good topic for the Council to consider because it will be assessed as part of the Urban Forest Master Plan.  Chair Short asked Committee members whether better legislation for tree protection should be considered.  Member Quirke stated that legislative alternatives could be recommended to the developers of the Urban Forest Master Plan on a variety of issues in the Plan.  Chair Short reported that there would be two scheduled Urban Forest Master Plan presentations/interactions with the Council, and that she would review the Council’s work plan priority list to see what could be addressed in the Urban Forest Master Plan discussions.  A Committee meeting would be scheduled to discuss how to address these issues as part of the Master Plan deliberations.


Member Milne recommended creating a list of past and current large-scale development plans to draw out examples of tree activity instead of theoretically talking about development plans.  Member Milne also recommended that the Council present ideas to newly elected Supervisors when they take office in January 2009.  Coordinator Hui stated that she would request a list of active projects from the Planning and Redevelopment Departments.  Chair Short recommended acquiring a list of active projects in varying degrees of implementation to see what opportunities were missed and would show a need for this type of protection. Chair Short explained that the Urban Forest Master Plan could incorporate recommendations into the General Plan and then legislative changes may follow as a result. 


Member Quirke stated that a number of groups including Friends of the Urban Forest will be organizing quality of life forums in September that will provide opportunities to question the candidates for Supervisor in all of these different areas. 


Public Comment:  Ms. Blair stated that the Planning Department grants approvals to large development projects and asked how that would interact with their not granting approvals of development projects that require removal of trees.  Chair Short stated that the Planning Department is the lead on the Urban Forest Master Plan and wants it to be a broad consensus of a plan that integrates the Council and various departments that have these oversights.  Ms. Blair speaking on behalf of the San Francisco Tree Council expressed her support for better tree protection because development has wiped out many of San Francisco’s existing trees.


5. New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Discussion). Coordinator Hui reported that she is working on Council letterhead and asked for suggestions for graphics, an Urban Forestry Council logo, or another seal.  Chair Short stated that she would bring back the Urban Forest Master Plan priority action items list for the Committee to discuss at the next meeting.


6. 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.


7. Adjournment. The Planning and Funding Committee adjourned at 6:00 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: September 18, 2008 


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