06.11.12 Policy Committee Meeting Approved Minutes






MONDAY, JUNE 11, 2012, 5:00 P.M.




COMMITTEE MEMBERS:  Commissioners Johanna Wald (Chair), Ruth Gravanis (Vice-Chair).




  1. Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Commission on the Environment Policy Committee meeting convened at 5:05 p.m.


  1. Approval of Minutes of the May 14, 2012 Policy Committee Regular Meeting. (Explanatory Document: May 14, 2012 Policy Committee Draft and Approved Minutes) (Discussion and Action)  Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis, second by Commissioner Wald, the May 14, 2012 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (AYES:  Commissioners Wald and Gravanis).


  1. Public Comments:  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. Presentation on the Better Market Street Project.  (Explanatory Documents: Better Market Street Presentation and Fact Sheet) Speaker:  Speaker: Neil Hrushowy, San Francisco Planning Department (Informational Presentation and Discussion) Public involvement website:  www.Bettermarketstreet.org.


Mr. Neil Hrushowy, Lead Urban Designer for Market Street, reported that the project goal of the Better Market Street project is to revitalize Market Street from Octavia Boulevard to the Embarcadero and to re-establish the street as the premier cultural, civic, transportation, and economic center of San Francisco and the Bay Area (slide 2).   He provided facts on the area’s pedestrian, bike, and transit use and projected growth of these uses.  Topics of discussion included:


  • The City project and consultant teams (slides 3-4).

  • Coordination with other efforts in the area and other neighborhoods (slide 5).

  • Community visioning outreach process on goals (slide 6).

  • Summary of transit, automobile, bicycle, and pedestrian modes (slide 7).

  • Team transportation principles, objectives, and tools and transit stop optimization (slides 7-9).

  • Private auto access options (slide 10).

  • Bicycle facility options--shared lane and cycletrack (slide 11).

  • Pedestrian issues (slide 12).

  • Urban design strategies to create unifying identity, enhance six districts, introduce street-life zone and revitalize major public spaces (slides 13-17).

  • Project schedule (slides 18-19).

  • Outreach schedule for public workshops and webinar (slide 20).


Commissioner Wald stated that conflicts between auto, transit and bicycle use may significantly be reduced if transit were to be improved.  She asked how this project would be integrated with other development projects and changes planned for Market Street.  Mr. Hrushowy reported that a new land-use study would be developed that will be parallel to the Market Street project.  Commissioner Wald inquired whether the idea of reducing the number of buses and transit traffic on Market Street in order to create other uses was considered.  She suggested making transfer stations more attractive so people would not be reluctant to take transit.  Mr. Hrushowy reported that reducing transit was not an option approved by the Municipal Transportation Authority, but could be reviewed more in the future.      


Commissioner Gravanis suggested that the environment be considered when printing visuals in order to retain recycling value and reduce ink usage.  She inquired if metrics would be developed to evaluate the success of the project.  Mr. Hrushowy reported that a matrix with metrics and goals has been developed to evaluate the different alternatives. Commissioner Wald suggested that metrics be integrated into a future presentation so they can be affirmed, expanded, or redesigned. Commissioner Gravanis reported that a number of people including avid cyclists do not like the existing new green bike lanes and suggested they be re-evaluated as part of the process.        


  1. Updated Climate Action Strategies and Renewable Energy Task Force Recommendations. (Explanatory Documents:  Renewable Energy Task Force Recommendations Summary, Renewable Energy Program Update Presentation, and Climate Presentation) Speakers: Adam Stern, Climate Program Manager,  Calla Ostrander, Climate Projects Manager, and Danielle Murray, Renewable Energy Program Manager (Informational Presentation and Discussion)


Mr. Adam Stern introduced presentations to be heard on Renewable Energy Task Force recommendations and the updated Climate Action strategy.  He reported on outreach that has been accomplished with stakeholders, City agencies, and the business community on climate goals and his attendance in conferences held around the country that are focused on achieving and planning for a low-carbon footprint.  Mr. Stern stated that San Francisco stands out as a leader in this area, and there has been interest expressed by other jurisdictions on how well the city is achieving carbon reductions as the economy grows.  

Ms. Danielle Murray reported on the City’s goal of achieving 100 percent renewable electricity supply by 2030 and current status of 41 percent renewable due in part to SFPUC’s completely renewable hydroelectric, biogas, and solar facilities and a state Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) that requires utilities and electricity service providers to meet 20 percent of their electricity demand with renewable sources by 2010 (slide 1).  She reported on San Francisco’s achievements in comparison to other parts of the country and future actions that have to be accomplished in order to reach the 100 percent goal.   Ms. Murray discussed the importance of San Francisco adopting and participating in the Community Choice Aggregation program (CleanPowerSF) and revising the RPS standards in order to reach the city’s goals. Topics of discussion included:


  • The increase in San Francisco solar photovoltaic installations from 2000-2011 in residential, commercial and municipal properties (slide 5).

  • California Solar Incentive (slide 6), GoSolar SF Initiative, and U.S. Department of Energy incentives and funding for solar development work.

  • Renewable Energy Task Force recommendations (Recommendations Report Summary).


Ms. Calla Ostrander reported on the updated San Francisco Greenhouse Gas Inventory for 2010 for San Francisco’s municipal, residential and commercial sectors. She stated that as of 2010, San Francisco is 14.5 percent below the 1990 baseline, which leaves only 5.5 percent remaining to meet the City’s 20 percent reduction goal by the end of 2012.  Ms. Ostrander reported that an updated Climate Action Strategy report would be published in mid-July.  Topics of discussion included:


  • 2010 San Francisco CO2e emissions by sector (slide 2).
  • Scenario of actual and projected emissions under a best case scenario (slide 3).
  • Total emissions declining with more waste recycling and primarily from cleaner electricity (slide 4) with the largest reductions from the shutdown of the Hunters Point and Potrero Power Plants and the state’s RPS.
  • San Francisco CO2 emissions 1990 vs. 2010 reductions from cleaner electricity and better waste recycling in homes and businesses and increase in emissions from cars and trucks (slide 5).
  • San Francisco’s Climate actions projected to beat local targets through 2025 from the waste, building natural gas, transportation, and building electricity sectors (slide 6).
  • San Francisco’s Climate Action strategies (slide 7).  Strategies are contained in existing City agency plans so would not require additional California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review.


Commissioner Wald expressed concern that not having to undergo CEQA for climate action strategies contained in other agency’s existing plans may mean not having as broad of a public forum to support the actions.  Ms. Ostrander reported on the Department’s major role in implementation of climate and renewable-energy goals and plans to develop marketing and communication strategies to reach residents and the business community on these goals with a focus in the areas of renewable electricity and major transportation strategies.     

Commissioner Gravanis inquired about barriers to the Community Choice Aggregation program.  Ms. Murray reported that achieving the 100 percent renewable goal would rely on the support of the program by the Board of Supervisors and Mayor and enrolling and retaining as many residential and business customers as possible.  She reported that solutions are being sought to alleviate concerns about the program’s minimal rate increase and the 15 million escrow account funding for the program.  Mr. Stern discussed PG&E’s Green Tariff proposal that would make a small contribution to the greenhouse gas goals, but would not help meet Climate Action Plan goals to the extent of the Community Choice Aggregation program.  He discussed plans to work with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) to align messages in communications with Board members.  Commissioner Wald suggested that the SFPUC and the Department hold joint briefings and provide handouts to supervisorial staff to increase awareness of the importance of the program in reaching climate goals. 


Commissioners and staff discussed the importance of including conservation in recommendations and goals and affecting behavioral change.  Ms. Ostrander reported on the review of consumption and eco-systems as part of the updated climate action strategies.  Commissioner Gravanis inquired whether a review of urban forestry protocols for carbon mitigation projects would be included as part of climate action strategies.  Ms. Ostrander reported that the carbon sink of the urban forest was calculated, and that she is working with the Recreation and Park Department and SFPUC to determine whether urban forestry protocols can be used to create urban forest projects for the California carbon market.  Commissioner Gravanis suggested that there be better coordination amongst City departments on selection of tree-planting locations, storm-water management and maintenance issues, and that wildlife experts be consulted in selecting tree species and planting locations.  She reported that the Urban Forest Plan that is now moving forward would help address these issues.   Ms. Ostrander discussed her role working with other departments to implement strategies and act as a voice in marketing and using local expertise to inform major goals.   


Commissioner Wald spoke in support of the recommendation to address solar-system shading and discussed the importance of utility-scale renewable energy.  Ms. Murray reported that solar system shading would be discussed more this year, and additional information would be provided once available.   Commissioner Wald suggested adding a recommendation to the Renewable Energy Task Force report stating that San Francisco has policies that insure that the proportion that comes from utility scale comes from projects that are well designed and “smart from the start.” 


Deputy Director Assmann discussed the importance of energy-efficiency and renewable-energy cost pass-through from landlords to tenants in order to ensure success of the program.  He stated that the Community Choice Aggregation program would be a way for tenants to participate in purchasing green energy without landlord involvement.  Ms. Murray reported that the Department has put forward a list of measures, but the Board of Supervisors would have to officially adopt these measures.  Commissioners suggested phasing in or passing through a percentage of the cost to tenants as a possible solution.  Commissioner Wald suggested identifying some other vehicle such as the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program and discussed the importance of identifying a backup plan if Community Choice Aggregation does not move forward.  


Commissioners and staff discussed the importance of public perception of the program and involving public stakeholders and constituents.  Commissioner Wald suggested holding joint Department of the Environment and SFPUC meetings with neighborhood groups who could help influence the Board of Supervisors in passage of the Community Choice program.  She reported that the Committee has decided to focus work in four different areas, one of which is climate and renewable energy.  The Committee would assist staff in marketing, messaging, and developing a campaign plan for the Board of Supervisors and Mayor and involving the community in this effort.    


Public Comment: Ms. Lurilla Harris suggested that the Renewable Energy Task Force recommendations include education and outreach to school-age children since they will be in charge in the future and discussed communication strategies with the Board of Supervisors.  Ms. Murray reported on current educational programs that are planned in museums and in schools.


  1. Identify Action Items to Achieve Selected Goals for Calendar Year 2012.  Sponsor:  Commissioner Johanna Wald (Discussion and Possible Action) This agenda item was continued to the July 9, 2012 Policy Committee meeting.


  1. Director’s Report and Updates.  Speaker: Melanie Nutter, Director (Informational Report and Discussion).  Deputy Director Assmann reported that the lease for the Department’s move to 1455 Market Street was approved by the Board of Supervisors and signed by the Mayor on Friday, and the Department’s Fiscal Year 2012-13 budget was approved.  He reported on funding sources for renovation and fundraising efforts planned to reach LEED Platinum at the new office location.       


  1. Announcements. (Discussion)  There were no announcements made at this time.


  1. New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Discussion)  Committee members agreed that the July 9, 2012 meeting would include continuation of agenda item 6 to identify action items to achieve selected goals for Calendar Year 2012 and bottled water at City events.   Commissioner Wald asked that staff be present at the meeting to provide input into how the Committee can provide assistance in the climate, biodiversity, metrics and the sustainability plan priorities that were selected.   


  1. Public Comments:  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 were no members of the public present at this time.


  1. Adjournment.  The Policy Committee meeting adjourned at 7:10 p.m.


Respectfully submitted by Monica Fish, Commission Secretary

Telephone (415) 355-3709; Fax (415) 554-6393


** Copies of explanatory documents are available at (1) the Commission’s office, 11 Grove Street, San Francisco, California between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., (2) on the Policy Committee’s website http://www.sfenvironment.org/commission/agendas with each set of minutes, or (3) upon request to the Commission Secretary at telephone number 415-355-3709, or via e-mail at [email protected].   

Approved:   July 9, 2012