December 14 2012 Urban Forestry Council Approved Minutes

City and County of San Francisco
Department of the Environment


FRIDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2012, 8:30 A.M.


1. Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Urban Forestry Council meeting convened at 8:40 a.m.  Present:  Chair D’Agostino, Council Members Barrow, Buck, Costello, Hillan, Hillson, Flanagan, Sider, Stockmann, Sullivan, Sutherland. Excused:  Member Sherwin.  Council Member Stockmann, Recreation and Park Department representative, introduced herself.  Chair D’Agostino requested an Introductions agenda item for the January 25, 2013 meeting.

2. Adoption of Minutes of the October 23, 2012 Urban Forestry Council Regular Meeting. (Explanatory Document:  October 23, 2012 Draft Minutes) (Discussion and Action) Upon Motion by Council Chair D’Agostino, second by Member Flanagan, the October 23, 2012 Draft Minutes were adopted without objection. (AYES: Chair D’Agostino, Council Members Buck, Costello, Hillan, Hillson, Flanagan, Sider, Sullivan, Sutherland. Absent:  Member Sherwin.)

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. Presentation on the Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System Plan. (Explanatory Document:  Van Ness BRT Presentation) Speaker: Michael Schwartz, Senior Transportation Planner, San Francisco County Transportation Authority (Informational Presentation and Discussion).

Mr. Michael Schwartz presented on the Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit System Plan discussing project purpose and need, BRT network context and features, alternatives and analysis assessed in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Report, findings, and key issues.  He reported that the Center BRT is the preferred alternative and discussed challenges and recommendations being made, cost, funding, and project schedule.  Mr. Schwartz reported on the tree analysis along the Van Ness corridor discussing existing conditions, options with each alternative, and new planting species being considered.  (Reference Presentation) Council members discussed proposed work that is planned and provided feedback on the plan.

Public Comment:

Mr. Terence Faulkner cautioned that palm trees should not be planted near a sewer line, especially an aging sewer line, and to not install streetcar tracks over a sewer line.  He discussed the damage to his family residence by the roots of a palm tree that went into the main water line.   

Mr. Frank Mason questioned whether the project will include a life-cycle cost analysis and tree maintenance plan that will document the cost of the trees, the sequence of maintenance, the City department responsible for maintenance, and funding stream to support the maintenance.  He suggested viewing the condition of the trees that were established at the light rail station on South 1st and 2nd Streets and the light rail corridor on North 1st Street in San Jose.  Mr. Mason discussed Department of Public Works request for funding at Transportation Authority meetings and their ability to provide maintenance for the trees that will be planted.   He discussed political issues surrounding the use of Proposition K funding for transportation projects.

Ms. Carla Short, Department of Public Works (DPW), spoke in support of Mr. Mason’s comments regarding Department of Public Work’s concerns for funding for tree maintenance.  She stated that DPW’s concern is for maintenance of the new trees that will be planted in narrow medians surrounded by OCS wires.  Ms. Short expressed her concern for the impact to trees from construction, and that the tree canopy would not be the same as before, with only 7 to 11 mature trees being maintained.  DPW’s preference is for the side-loading alternative as opposed to the locally-preferred alternative for center loading.   The side-loading alternative would achieve a lot of the same benefits, maybe not at the same speed, but would preserve existing medians, visual impact and canopy of medians. 

5. Review and Approval of Draft Resolution File 2012-05-UFC Commending Urban Forestry Council Member Stanley Muraoka for his Service to the Urban Forestry Council. (Explanatory Document:  Draft Resolution File 2012-05-UFC and Approved Resolution 005-12-UFC) (Discussion and Action) 

Chair D’Agostino read the Resolution into the record.  Chair D’Agostino motioned, seconded by Member Hillson to approve the Resolution.  Member Costello motioned, seconded by Member Hillan to amend the Resolution to change “arboreal” to “expertise.”   The Resolution was approved with the recommended amendment (AYES: Chair D’Agostino, Council Members Buck, Costello, Hillan, Hillson, Flanagan, Sider, Sullivan, and Sutherland. Absent:  Member Sherwin.)

6. Update on Changes to Administrative Support to the Urban Forestry Council. (Explanatory Documents:  Administrative Support to the Council Letter, Work Plan, and Administrative Support Comments by Member Hillson, Public Comments Received) (Discussion and Possible Action)

Chair D’Agostino reported on Department of the Environment communications regarding administrative staffing and the work plan for the Council, Member Hillson’s comments, the Planning and Funding Committee discussion, and public comment received from (1) Ms. Nancy Wuerfel questioning staffing and budgetary allocation to the Council, (2) the Coalition of San Francisco Neighborhoods Resolution in support of restoring funding and staffing; and (3) Mr. Eric Brooks, San Francisco Green Party and Our City, advocating for adequate funding and support. (Reference Explanatory Documents) Council Members discussed their ideas for reinstating staffing and additional funding in order to function and be an effective Council.  Member Hillson presented a screenprint from the Controller’s Office showing the funding allocation to the Council that she believes has not been allocated to the Council to date and a letter to the Department to reinstate administrative support staff and funding. Member Stockmann suggested requesting clarity on the jurisdiction and discretionary authority of the Deputy Director for reallocating funding and making funding recommendations.

Public Comment:

Mr. Terence Faulkner suggested that the letter requesting jurisdiction and discretionary authority be copied to the City Controller, City Treasurer, Board of Supervisors, and City Attorney’s Office because these agencies have the authority for disbursement of funds.  He also suggested gathering publicity on this issue and talking to schools about providing free student services.

Ms. Katherine Howard, Open Space Committee for Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods, referenced the Resolution from the Coalition, a coalition of 48 San Francisco neighborhoods, supporting the work of the Council and restoring full funding.  She spoke in support of the Council’s work and expressed her concern for the lack of funding for the Council to operate effectively. She urged the Council to aggressively pursue additional funding.

Ms. Jennie Kwok, resident and voter, spoke in support of the Urban Forestry Council’s work and read the Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods Resolution into the record to restore full funding and ensure funding in subsequent years (Reference Explanatory Document).

Ms. Cathy Lentz, Park Merced Action Coalition, spoke in support of the Council’s work and expressed her concern that without the Council, there would not be an agency to support the 1200 trees located at Park Merced Apartments and to represent San Francisco and its trees.

Upon Motion by Member Sutherland, second by Member Sullivan, the letter that Member Hillson presented was edited and approved.  The letter is addressed to the Commission on the Environment requesting that the Commission recommend reinstatement of administrative staffing and support.  (Reference Letter) (AYES: Chair D’Agostino, Council Members Buck, Costello, Hillan, Hillson, Flanagan, Sider, Sullivan, and Sutherland. Absent:  Member Sherwin.)

Upon Motion by Member Hillan, second by Member Sullivan, Member Hillan was directed to prepare a letter to the Deputy Director questioning his jurisdiction and discretionary authority for reallocating funding and making funding recommendations with copies to the Controller, Treasurer and City Attorney.

7. Proposal to amend the Urban Forestry Council Meeting Schedule. The Council will discuss amending the meeting schedule and proposing an amendment to the Bylaws.  (Explanatory Document:  Meeting Schedule Recommendations) Speaker:  Chair D’Agostino (Discussion and Possible Action) 
The Council held a discussion on this agenda item.  The meeting schedule was not amended at this time and was proposed for further discussion after additional discussion or action has been taken on funding for the Council.  Continued to the Call of the Chair.

Public Comment:

Ms. Katherine Howard discussed the effect on public participation if meetings are not held on a regular schedule and every other month as opposed to once a month.  She stated that regularly scheduled meetings also provide the Council with more visibility and impact.

Mr. Terence Faulkner suggested that the Council prepare a formal annual report with binding or pamphlet on the work of the Council that would be sent to each public official and the Main Library Government Documents section in order to gather prestige.  He suggested that the Council reference examples at the Main Library Government Documents Section. 

Ms. Cathy Lentz appreciates the efforts of Urban Forestry Council volunteers. She asked that the Council continue its work and not reduce the meeting schedule as it would result in less input from the public.

Item 9 was heard before Item 8.

8. Urban Forestry Council Annual Goal Setting Meeting. The Council will review last year's goals and identify new goals for 2012. (Explanatory Document: 2012 Urban Forestry Council Draft Goals) (Discussion and Action) Chair D’Agostino moved, seconded by Member Sutherland (without objection) to continue this item to the January 25, 2013 meeting after additional information is established regarding funding for the Council. 
9. Update on the Urban Forest Plan Working Group Session. (Discussion)  Chair D’Agostino reported on a meeting held with Planning Department staff, Member Flanagan and herself to receive an update on the Plan and how the Council can participate.  She stated that she would continue to send out invitations to members to attend meetings, agendas, meeting summaries, and explanatory documents.  A request was made for an additional presentation by Planning staff at an Urban Forestry Council meeting.   

10. 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) 

Ms. Fish reported on communications received from Mr. Michael Russom on environmental issues at Park Merced on plan that was sent to all Council Members (Reference Public Comment Document).  Chair D’Agostino reported that she would contact Mr. Russom to discuss opportunities for interacting with the Council on this issue.  A request was made for project sponsors of the Park Merced Plan to make a presentation to the Council and provide a public forum.

Ms. Cathy Lentz reported that there is a plan to remove 1200 trees at Park Merced, discussed lack of maintenance for the trees, and what can be done to ensure better quality of replacement trees.
Mr. Terence Faulkner discussed his concerns with the credibility of Park Merced management.

Items 11 – 15 were not heard due to a loss of quorum at this time.

11. Committee Reports: (Informational Reports and Discussion)
Planning & Funding Committee. Chair’s Report on the December meeting. 
Landmark Tree Ad Hoc Committee Report.  Chair’s Report on the November and December meetings.
12. Chair’s Announcements: Chair, Urban Forestry Council (Information and Discussion)
13. Urban Forestry Council Member Announcements. (Information and Discussion)
14. New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Information and Discussion)
15. 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.

16. Adjournment.  The Urban Forestry Council meeting adjourned at 11:20 a.m.

The next meeting of the Urban Forestry Council is scheduled for Friday, January 25, 2013 at 8:30 a.m., Room 400, 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 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

Approved: January 25, 2013

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