01.27.12 Urban Forestry Council Meeting Approved Minutes

City and County of San Francisco
DEpartment of the ENvironment


FRIDAY, JANUARY 27, 2012, 8:30 A.M.



1.    Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Urban Forestry Council meeting convened at 8:37 a.m.  Present:  Chair D’Agostino, Vice-Chair Hillson, Members Barrow, Buck, Costello, Muraoka, Sherwin, Sider, Sullivan, Sutherland, and Vargas; Excused:  Member Flanigan, Absent:  Member Hillan.

2.    Adoption of Minutes of the December 9, 2011 Urban Forestry Council Regular Meeting. (Explanatory Document:  December 9, 2011Draft and Approved Minutes) (Discussion and Action)  Upon motion by Chari D’Agostino, second by Vice-Chair Hillson, the December 9, 2011 meeting minutes were approved without objection (AYES:  Chair D’Agostino, Vice-Chair Hillson, Members Buck, Costello, Sherwin, Sider, Sullivan, Sutherland, and Vargas; Absent:  Members Hillan and Flanigan).

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.  There was no public comment at this time.

4.     Bureau of Urban Forestry Permits and Policy Presentation. Sponsor: Chair D'Agostino, Speaker: Carla Short, Department of Public Works Urban Forester (Informational Presentation and Discussion)

Ms. Short reported on the reorganization of the Department of Public Works (DPW) in order to streamline management and gain efficiencies.  It was explained that the Bureau of Urban Forestry would retain all of its functions but would be restructured as part of the Bureau of Street Use and Mapping.  She confirmed public contact information (311) would remain the same, and that there would be a staff member available to answer public inquiries at 875 Stevenson Street.  

Ms. Short reported that DPW’s tree relinquishment plan to private property owners is in the inspection and early notification process of intent to transfer maintenance responsibility, and public hearings will be held.  Council Members inquired about the process that DPW will take to relinquish trees (see Fact Sheet) and the potential of DPW offering public assistance programs.  Ms. Short explained that the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services has general assistance programs available, but that DPW does not have funding available for a program.  She reported that work is in progress in coordination with the Planning Department and Friends of the Urban Forest to identify long-term funding mechanisms and options for the City to explore maintenance for all City trees that the Council will have an opportunity to participate in the review of.

Ms. Short reported that the DPW Deputy City Attorney was not enthusiastic about the Council’s proposal to landmark groves of trees citing concerns that the process may be used as a means for stopping development.  An opportunity does exist to landmark groves of trees by landmarking each individual tree within a grove, and how the trees function as a grove may be a consideration for landmark status.

Ms. Short discussed upcoming Arbor Day plans for the San Francisco Brotherhood Way area to develop a work scope, plant and emphasize tree maintenance, and hold a dedicated memorial tree ceremony for Wangari Maathai, founder of the Green Belt Movement and 2004 Nobel Prize winner for her role in urban forestry work. 

Public Comment:  Mr. Frank Mason expressed his opposition and frustration with street tree relinquishment plans to property owners and discussed the impacts that this program will have on people, especially seniors who do not have the resources and are forced to take on this responsibility.  He suggested that City reports begin to address not only programmatic goals, but cost impacts of goals as well.

5.    Update on the Urban Forestry Council’s 2011 Annual Report. (Explanatory Documents:  Annual Report Drafts (3) and Agency Datasheet) (Discussion and Possible Action)

Chair D’Agostino reported that the working group met in December to review the Annual Report and agency surveys received to identify report content and methods for analyzing and synthesizing data.  The group has since received draft comments by Members Vargas and D’Agostino for review, and the Planning and Funding Committee held a discussion on the report at its January 23 meeting.  Chair D’Agostino distributed a datasheet listing the agencies surveyed, positions and budget, and trees planted, cared for, and removed during 2010-11.  Next steps are for the working group to synthesize a new draft based on information on the datasheet and comments received by Council Members, and based on timing, to either present a new Draft to the Planning and Funding Committee and then the full Council or directly to the full Council.

6.    Urban Forestry Council 2012 Work Plan.  The Council will start discussion on how to achieve the Council’s prioritized goals. (Explanatory Document:  Prioritized Action Items) (Discussion)

Council Members discussed their Work Plan goals prioritized at the December Council meeting.  Members identified agencies to invite to report on current projects and members to participate in a working group to establish a message and meet on a regular basis with the Mayor and Board of Supervisors.   Members were encouraged to participate in Arbor Day events and discussed the possibility of distributing pruning guidelines and the Recommended Street Tree List at the event. Coordinator Hui requested a discussion at the Planning and Funding Committee about setting up Arbor Day pruning workshops and setting up an “ask an arborist table.”

7.    Update on Recommended Street Tree List and Street Tree Pamphlet Progress. The Council will be updated on Working Group recommendations for changes to the 2012 Recommended Street Tree List and progress made on the Street Tree pamphlet. (Explanatory Document:  Working Group Recommended Street Tree List) Speaker:  Chair D’Agostino (Informational Report and Discussion)

Chair D’Agostino reported that the Recommended Street Tree List working group recently met in October to categorize trees, went back to their agencies for input, and met on January 26 to create a new list (see explanatory document).  Chair D’Agostino reported on language that was added and criteria used to categorize trees based on consensus of the group and interagency exchange.  Council Members provided their comments on the list and disclaimer language.  Next steps are to hold another working group meeting in February, incorporate Council Member’s comments, and bring back a list that can be used for the street tree pamphlet for review by the Council at its February 28 meeting.  The work group is scheduled to meet quarterly to continue discussions on tree categorizations.

Public Comment:  Mr. Frank Mason suggested adding a matrix to the list that includes information on maintenance expectations, sidewalk impacts, pollen implications, and potential safety hazards.   

8.    Review of the Urban Forestry Council Ordinance (Environment Code Chapter 12, Section 1202) as it relates to membership and monthly meeting requirements. (Explanatory Document:  Environment Code Section 1202)(Discussion)

Chair D’Agostino reported on Environment Code Chapter 12 requirements for the Council to meet monthly and the need to change the Code to coincide with the actual meeting schedule to state “meets regularly.”   She reported on an additional request that would be made after consultation with the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) to change the GGNRA seat to GGNRA/Presidio Trust to better reflect the work of the group.  Member Muraoka reported on the dissolution of the Redevelopment Agency on February 1 due to AB26 and reallocation of its assets and staff to the Office of the City Administrator.  He suggested that the Redevelopment Agency seat be changed to the Office of the City Administrator.

9.    Staff Report.  Staff will provide updates on Urban Forestry Council administrative and programmatic operations relating to research, planning, funding, outreach, and other related activities. (Informational Report and Discussion).  There was no additional report issued at this time.

10.  Committee Reports: (Informational Reports and Discussion)

Planning & Funding Committee. Chair’s Report on the January 23, 2012 meeting. The next meeting date and time is to be announced.   Chair Buck reported that the Committee met on January 23 to discuss the Annual Report drafts and other topics discussed throughout the meeting.

Landmark Tree Ad Hoc Committee Report.  There were no current meetings held.  No report was issued at this time. 

11.  Chair’s Announcements: Chair, Urban Forestry Council (Information and Discussion).  There were no announcements made at this time.

12.  Urban Forestry Council Member Announcements. (Information and Discussion)  There were no announcements made at this time.

13.  New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Information and Discussion)  Member Sutherland reported on the Western Chapter of the ISA’s workshop on February 10 in Sacramento on Improving Tree Structure with Structural Pruning, and the California Arborist’s Association climbing skills workshop on February 24 in Benicia.  Member Sider reported on the Planning Department’s progress on establishing a more robust process for development projects on street tree requirements that is scheduled for a soft launch on March 1.  Member Muraoka requested that the Council invite the DPW Deputy City Attorney to a Council meeting to discuss identifying criteria that could be added for landmark groves in order to address concerns.

14.  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 comment at this time.

15.  Adjournment.  The Urban Forestry Council meeting adjourned at 10:39 a.m.

The next meeting of the Urban Forestry Council is scheduled for Tuesday, February 28, 2012, at 6:00 p.m., Room 416, San Francisco City Hall.

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 [email protected]  Explanatory documents are also available at the Council’s meeting or agenda website https://sites.google.com/a/sfenvironment.org/commission/urban-forestry-council as attachments with each agenda or meeting minutes.

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 28, 2012