December 13 2013 Urban Forestry Council Meeting Approved Minutes


Friday, December 13, 2013, 8:30 a.m.

City Hall, Room 400
One Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Jr. Place
San Francisco, CA 94102

Council Members: Dan Flanagan (Chair), Dr. Larry Costello (Vice Chair), Malcolm Hillan, Rose Hillson, Dan Kida, John Leffingwell, William Most, Sandy Sherwin, Carla Short (Department of Public Works), Andrew Sullivan, and Jon Swae (San Francisco Planning Department). Advisory Members: Mike Barrow (San Francisco Public Utilities Commission); Phil Ginsburg/Ana Alvarez (San Francisco Recreation and Park Department); San Francisco Redevelopment Agency (Vacant); Golden Gate National Recreation Area (Vacant)

Order of Business

1. Call to Order and Roll Call.   The Urban Forestry Council meeting convened at 8:33 a.m.  Present:  Council Members Flanagan, Costello (8:35), Barrow, Hillan (9:00), Hillson, Kida, Leffingwell, Most, Sherwin, Short, Sullivan and Swae.  Absent:  Members Ginsburg/Alvarez.

2. Adoption of Minutes of the October 22, 2013Urban Forestry Council Meeting. (Explanatory Document:  October 22, 2013 Draft Minutes) (Discussion and Action)  Upon Motion by Member Flanagan, second by Member Hillson, the October 22, 2013 Meeting Minutes were approved with an amendment to Ms. Dee Seligman’s public comment on page 3 so that the first sentence of the paragraph should read “Ms. Dee Seligman expressed her concern that the Public Utilities Commission and particularly the Recreation and Park Department should be granted voting status” and deleting the rest of the sentence (AYES:  Members Flanagan, Costello, Hillson, Kida, Leffingwell, Most, Sherwin, Short, Sullivan and Swae; Absent:  Member HIllan).

Public Comment:  Ms. Dee Seligman agreed that her public comment would read more effectively by removing the last part of the sentence indicated in the motion above.

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.

Ms. Diane Carpio, San Francisco Park Merced resident, discussed Park Merced’s development agreement project with the City on Brotherhood Way and her opposition to trees that were cut down for that project that she feels compromised public safety.  She stated that permits were issued with the wrong street frontage, and that trees were not supposed to be cut down.  Ms. Carpio reported that the work has halted, but that the Brotherhood Way hillside had been left with fallen trees for two months.  She reported on her work with the Department of Public Works Bureau of Urban Forestry to reconcile the 2007 Hort Science Report on tagged trees.  Ms. Carpio expressed her concern that there has been no maintenance, pruning, and tree watering of trees for the last six years since the report was issued back in 2007.  She reported on her trouble finding the Urban Forestry Council website and suggested that member contact information be included.

Ms. Robin Sherrer expressed her concern with the loss of trees in San Francisco due to the Recreation and Park Department and Natural Areas Program’s efforts to replace species, trees and environments with what they consider to be natural, even though it never previously existed in San Francisco.  She reported on public opposition to the changes and tree removal taking place in Glen Park and Pine Lake and with the loss of eucalyptus trees, which are a part of San Francisco.  Ms. Sherrer reported on her conversations with the Recreation and Park Department on this activity and with City College environmental and horticulture department professors who agreed that it was not a good idea to remove trees at mid-life.

4. Draft Urban Forest Master Plan. The Urban Forestry Council will hear an update on the Urban Forest Plan status and timeline, discuss the implementation strategy, and adopt implementation tasks that the Council will perform as part of the Urban Forest Plan. (Explanatory Documents: Urban Forestry Council Action Plan Draft and Implementation Strategy Tasks Draft) Sponsor and Speaker:  Member Jon Swae (Informational Presentation  Discussion, and Action)

Member Jon Swae reported that the Urban Forest Master Plan would be completed by the end of the year and that an open house for release of the Plan to the public is scheduled on January 15 (reference Open House Public Announcement card) from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the LGBT Community Center in San Francisco.  He stated that there would be a four week public comment period and then hearings would be scheduled at the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors in February.

Member Swae reported on Urban Forest Plan Implementation Strategy Tasks pointing out actions with responsibilities either fully or partially assigned to the Urban Forestry Council.  Member Sullivan reported that the Planning and Policy Committee reviewed and is using the Urban Forest Plan implementation strategies to inform the Council’s Two-Year Work Plan.  Member Most reported that from a Funding Committee perspective, funding strategies for each task should be added.  Council Members held a discussion on proposed tasks and provided feedback and proposed amendments.

Public Comment:

Ms. Diane Carpio spoke in support of the work outlined on the Implementation Strategy Tasks.  She discussed the large amount of zoning changes and development plans in the City and County of San Francisco that are exempt from Environmental Impact Review.  Ms. Carpio reported on her meeting with Supervisor Yee in which she asked that he consider hiring a mitigator to oversee the Park Merced Development Agreement.  She reported on her concern that replacement trees may pose a danger to the existing habitat in the Monterey Pines being removed and suggested that the Council and possibly the Historical Landmark Committee become involved in the development plans at the site.

Ms. Robin Sherrer reported on her concern with the Recreation and Park Department as the lead on open space activities especially in parks and suggested that there be oversight of their plans to replace all non-native species such as the mature eucalyptus.  She stated that Sutro Forest has also been endangered from too many trees being removed, and as a result may soon turn into a dry forest and fire danger.

Ms. Dee Seligman suggested that the Implementation Strategy Tasks include a way for the public to become fully aware of what is going on with any tree being felled in the city, whether it is a street or park tree.  She suggested that any tree to be felled should be marked with information to create awareness as to why it is being felled, e.g., what is the disease and motive for the tree to be felled, what canopy it contributes to, and where to find out the agency or individual responsible for the decision and implementation of the decision.

Upon Motion by Member Most, second by Member Kida, the Urban Forestry Council Implementation Strategy Tasks for the Urban Forest Master Plan was adopted with amendments (AYES:  Members Flanagan, Costello, Hillan, Hillson, Kida, Leffingwell, Most, Short, Sullivan and Swae; Absent:  Member Sherwin).

5. Urban Forestry Council Two Year Work Plan.  The Council will review and discuss the two year Work Plan Draft developed by the Planning and Policy and Funding Committees for adoption.  (Explanatory Document:  2014-15 Two Year Urban Forestry Council Work Plan Draft) Speakers;  Members Andrew Sullivan and William Most (Discussion and Action)

Planning and Policy Committee Chair Sullivan reported on 2014 quarterly Urban Forestry Council and Planning and Policy Committee Work Plan goals, work items, and metrics to assess work annually.  He stated that 2015 goals are included and to be determined.  Funding Committee Chair Most reported on Funding Committee Two Year Work Plan goals, work items, and metrics.  Member Sullivan announced that work plan goals will be worked on for the Landmark Tree Committee activities and discussed the need for more outreach for landmark tree designations.  Member Hillson discussed Ordinance requirements that may prevent people from initiating landmark tree designations.  Member Short suggested scheduling a meeting to discuss this topic.  Council Members held a discussion on the Two Year Work Plan goals, work items and metrics.

Public Comment:

Ms. Diane Carpio, stated that she is a Grants and Financial Analyst, and suggested that the Council create partnerships with City College and universities as well as budget for staff time to work on fundraising and other urban forestry programs.  She suggested working with the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development and City College of San Francisco on a higher SF program to diversify and alleviate the burdens of arborists working with ISA standards in San Francisco.   Ms. Carpio suggested developing training material and gaining Intellectual Property (IP) rights and patent IP material as another way of generating revenue.   She spoke of conflict of interest issues surrounding landmark tree nominations and the need for mitigation and transparency in this area.  She suggested consulting with 311 and SF Book for audit information.  Ms. Carpio stated that holding Arbor Day in areas where trees have been lost would have more of an impact than locations that are well populated.

Ms. Robin Sherrer requested information on how to contact the Urban Forestry Council about the landmark tree process so she could direct people to this program and process.  She discussed a significant tree in Glen Park that could have been saved if there were more outreach to the public about the program.  Ms. Sherrer suggested creating stories about historic trees and forests for public education.  She inquired who to contact with questions about jurisdictional rights over Mount Sutro Forest.

Upon Motion by Chair Flanagan, second by Member Kida, the Urban Forestry Council Two Year Work Plan was adopted (AYES:  Members Flanagan, Costello, Hillan, Hillson, Kida, Leffingwell, Most, Sherwin, Short, Sullivan and Swae).

Member Swae left the meeting at 10:20 a.m.

6. Staff Report.  There was no staff report issued at this time.

7. New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Information and Discussion) 

Member Short proposed a presentation for the January meeting on the Tigers of Market Street by two lepidopterists.  Chair Flanagan reported that Member Costello has asked to step down from the Urban Forestry Council effective today, December 13.   Council Members thanked and commended Member Costello for his service to the Council.  Chair Flanagan announced that he would not be present for the January meeting, and that Member Short would serve as Vice Chair for the meeting, and that due to Member Costello’s resignation, a new Chair should be elected.  Member Hillson discussed the Geary Bus Rapid Transit Project and the effect it may have on the New Zealand Christmas tree located in the median between Funston and 12th Avenue that was planted for Mayor Christopher’s Geary Greening Project.  She stated that she would reach out to Mr. Chester Fung of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority to discuss the project and its effect on trees in that vicinity (reference Handout on Mayor Christopher’s New Zealand Christmas Tree on Geary Boulevard).  Member Sullivan suggested that the Planning Department present on the newly released Green Connections Plan.

Public Comment: 

Ms. Diane Carpio inquired about landmark tree nomination criteria.  Member Hillson reported that a private citizen can nominate a tree but that it has to be sponsored by the Board of Supervisors or an agency department head.  She explained that all nomination criteria are available on the Landmark Tree nomination form located on the Urban Forestry Council’s website or by contacting Department staff.  Ms. Carpio stated that she is not in favor of development agreements that could abuse the landmark tree process.  She suggested replantation as an alternative method of tree removal for development projects.  Ms. Carpio suggested that all Recreation and Park Department grants having to do with the environment be reviewed by the Urban Forestry Council so that projects can be added to grants if possible.  She discussed the lack of response time allocated to the public for input into project plans.

8. 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.

Ms. Dee Seligman reported on upcoming lectures at the Commonwealth Club on Conciliation Biology, Ecological Communities in the March of Time, and the History of Ecology and Future of Eucalyptus Plantations in the Bay Area.  She urged Recreation and Park Department representatives to attend meetings of the Council especially if voting status is to be granted for this seat.

Ms. Diane Carpio reported that Park Merced has a large tree canopy and discussed trouble she is having identifying what City agency has jurisdiction over different aspects of the project.  She asked that the Council request a presentation by the Planning Department about the Environmental Impact Report process for this project.

9. Adjournment.  The Urban Forestry Council Meeting adjourned at 10:30 a.m.

The next meeting of the Urban Forestry Council is scheduled for Friday, January 24, 2014 at 8:30 a.m., Room 400, San Francisco City Hall.

Copies of explanatory documents are available to the public at (1) the Department of Environment, 1455 Market Street, Suite 1200, San Francisco, California 94103 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.  Photo identification is required for access to the building; (2) upon request to the Council Secretary at the above address or telephone number 415-355-3709 or via e-mail at [email protected] within three business days of a meeting. Explanatory documents may also be available at the Council’s meeting or agenda website as attachments with each agenda or meeting minutes. Meeting audios can be accessed at the following weblink

Urban Forestry Council
San Francisco Department of the Environment
City and County of San Francisco
1455 Market Street, Suite 1200, San Francisco, CA 94103

Approved:  February 25, 2014