March 27 2015 Urban Forestry Council Meeting Approved Minutes


Friday, March 27, 2015, 8:30 a.m.

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

Council Members: Dan Flanagan (Chair), Carla Short (Vice Chair) (Department of Public Works), Ana Alvarez (San Francisco Recreation and Park Department), Malcolm Hillan, Rose Hillson, Dan Kida, Igor Lacan, John Leffingwell, Yolanda Manzone, (San Francisco Public Utilities Commission), Sandy Sherwin, Andrew Sullivan, Michael Sullivan, and Jon Swae (San Francisco Planning Department); Tom Carter, San Francisco Port; and Golden Gate National Recreation Area (Vacant).

Order of Business

1. Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Urban Forestry Council meeting convened at 8:30 a.m.  Present:  Council Acting Chair Short, Members Carter, Hillan, Hillson, Kida, Lacan, Leffingwell, Manzone, A. Sullivan, M. Sullivan, and Swae; Excused:  Council Members Alvarez, Flanagan and Sherwin.

2. Introduction of New Urban Forestry Council Members.  (Information and Discussion)  Council Members Port Representative Carter and Mayoral Representative Lacan were introduced and welcomed to the Council.  Members Carter and Lacan provided a summary of their background and experience in urban forestry.

3. Adoption of Minutes of the January 23, 2015 Urban Forestry Council Regular Meeting. (Explanatory Document:   January 23, 2015 Draft Minutes) (Discussion and Action)  Upon Motion by Council Member Hillson, second by Council Member Leffingwell, the January 23, 2015 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (AYES:  Members Carter, Hillan, Hillson, Lacan, Leffingwell, Manzone, Short, A. Sullivan, M. Sullivan and Swae; Absent;  Members Alvarez, Flanagan and Sherwin).

4. 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.

5. Review and Approval of the 2015 Recommended Street Tree List and Draft Resolution 2015-02-UFC Approving the List.  (Explanatory Documents:  Draft 2015 Recommended Street Tree List and Draft Resolution) (Discussion and Action) 

Chair Short reported on working group meetings that were held to discuss the species on the tree list and suggested changes that were made to the list.  Council Coordinator Hui reported on Planning and Funding Committee edits that were recommended and future work planned to improve the list.  Council Members held a discussion about adding common names, noting the distinction between native and non-native trees, trees and power lines, drought tolerance, tree height, planting space, habitat, and infrastructure considerations. 

Public Comment:  Mr. Frank Mason spoke in support of recommending a tree height reduction and suggested that there be a restriction on where trees are planted in areas near the MUNI Rapid corridor and where there are electric overhead lines.  He discussed traffic and J Church MUNI line service disruption on Church Street because of trees coming down and costs associated with disruptions and rerouting MUNI service.  He recommended that the tree list include a pollen index and potential of sidewalk buckling.   Mr. Mason cited an article in the San Jose Mercury News written by an arborist “Tree Roots Spread Laterally”. 

Upon Motion by Member Hillson, second by Member A. Sullivan, the 2015 Recommended Street Tree List was approved with amendments, and the Resolution adopting the 2015 Recommended Street Tree List was approved (AYES:  Members Carter, Hillan, Hillson, Lacan, Leffingwell, Manzone, Short, A. Sullivan, M. Sullivan and Swae; Absent;  Members Alvarez, Flanagan and Sherwin).

Item 7-8 was heard before Item 6.

6. Masonic Avenue Streetscape Improvement Presentation. Presenters: John Dennis, Project Manager and David Froehlich, Landscape Architectural Associate. The Council will hear a presentation on the Masonic Avenue Streetscape Improvement Plan. (Presentation and Discussion)

Department of Public Works (DPW) Project Manager of Masonic Avenue Streetscape Improvement Project, John Dennis, reported that the project began as a grassroots effort by neighbors who started a group called “Save Masonic Street” in response to car collisions and pedestrian injuries.  The focus of the project is to improve safety for pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders, and vehicles traveling on Masonic Street and at the same time make a significant contribution to increasing the urban forest.

Mr. Dennis reported that the project area is Masonic Avenue from Fell Street to Geary Boulevard.  He reported on three community meetings that were held during the project planning phase to identify design options that were called the Gateway and Boulevard Options.  Mr. Dennis reported that the Boulevard option was selected and presented a project rendering and proposal to create a public plaza and space.  He presented on plaza design, public art components, project timeline, and tree proposal.

Landscape Architectural Associate David Froehlich reported on trees that are proposed for removal because of construction, road realignment, and structural health issues that were identified with the help of DPW’s urban forestry department.  He presented on street tree selections, planting location, and factors for selection.
Council Members discussed concerns raised by the public about tree removals and the possibility of modifying plans for tree removal, considerations and appropriateness for tree species selection, project budget and responsibility for tree maintenance, wind conditions, correlation with Geary Bus Rapid Transit design, MUNI overhead lines, landmark tree considerations, and traffic modeling.  A report was provided on current and future plans for DPW public outreach on tree removals and tree plantings and SFMTA outreach in regard to traffic, parking, and bicycle facilities.  

Public Comment: 

Ms. Anastasia Glikshtern expressed her concerns that every project consists of cutting down trees and planting new trees.  She stated that many of the trees that are slated for removal are in good condition, well established, young trees and should not be cut.  Ms. Glikshtern suggested that the Council focus more on tree preservation instead of tree selection.  (Reference Public Comment received.)

Anonymous Speaker suggested that the Council exercise their fiduciary responsibility and consider the present and future funding required for planting130 additional trees and in future decisions being made in ongoing improvement plans.  Anonymous speaker discussed the “Trees for Tomorrow” program that did not include a maintenance plan and resulted in discussions of relinquishing control of maintenance to property owners.  It was stated that DPW is also relinquishing their responsibility for garbage pickup at corner receptacles, and that funding for pickup now appears in household garbage rates.  Anonymous Speaker discussed his concerns that Proposition K funding is directed more for tree maintenance under bicycle and pedestrian improvements, and that bicycle circulation safety is more of a focus than pedestrian safety.  Concerns were expressed that costs are constantly being directed to the homeowner.

7. Nominations of Urban Forestry Council Officers (Chair and Vice-Chair).  (Discussion and Action) 

Upon Motion by Council Member Hillson, second by Council Member A. Sullivan, Chair Flanagan was nominated as Chair and Vice-Chair Short was nominated as Vice-Chair for another term (AYES:  Members Carter, Hillan, Hillson, Lacan, Leffingwell, Manzone, Short, A. Sullivan, M. Sullivan and Swae; Absent;  Members Alvarez, Flanagan and Sherwin).  Elections will be held at the May 22, 2015 Council meeting.

8. Committee Reports: (Informational Reports and Discussion)
Planning & Funding Committee. Chair’s Report.  Committee Chair A. Sullivan reported that a meeting was not held in February and reported on March Committee discussions on the 2015 Recommended Street Tree and the Draft of the Best Management Urban Forestry Practices.  A request was made for Council comments on the Draft.

Landmark Tree Ad Hoc Committee.  Chair’s Report.  Committee Chair Hillson reported that the Committee has not received nominations recently and requested a status report on the landmark tree identification markers.  Council Coordinator Hui reported that Chair Flanagan was checking on project funding by PG&E and would report back on the current status.  Member Kida reported that there is interest by PG&E to secure funding for the project and would report back.

9. Staff Report. (Informational Report and Discussion)  Council Coordinator Hui reported that the Council is scheduled to hear a presentation at their next meeting on the Sunshine Ordinance and Brown Act and on the SFPlantFinder. 

10. Chair’s Announcements: Chair, Urban Forestry Council (Information and Discussion) 

Acting Chair Short reported that there has been legislation introduced at the Board of Supervisors Office to make changes to the Planning and Public Works Codes.  She explained that it does not make significant changes for tree planting requirements and construction, but changes where those requirements and authority resides to make determinations about what is possible.  Member Swae reported that the SFPlantFinder that is part of the Green Connections Project provides a website list of recommended mostly native plants that would support habitat and wildlife along those corridors.  It was announced that the Department of the Environment is sponsoring a public outreach campaign on the website and sponsoring the ugliest lawn contest.  

11. Urban Forestry Council Member Announcements. (Information and Discussion)  Member Hillson congratulated Department of Public Works on the success of the Arbor Day event.  Member Swae announced that the Citywide Street Tree Census Request for Proposals was just released, and that there is a thirty day window for accepting bids until April 27.

12. New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Information and Discussion)  There was no new business or future agenda items discussed at this time.  Council Members were asked to submit future requests to the Council Coordinator.

13. 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.

14. Adjournment.  The Urban Forestry Council meeting adjourned at 9:52 a.m.

The next meeting of the Urban Forestry Council is scheduled for Friday, May 22, 2015 at 8:30 a.m., City Hall, Room 416, San Francisco, CA  94102.

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

Respectfully submitted by Monica Fish, Commission Secretary
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: May 22, 2015