May 23 2014 Urban Forestry Council Meeting Approved Minutes


CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO
DEPARTMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENT
URBAN FORESTRY COUNCIL

APPROVED MINUTES
Friday, May 23, 2014, 8:30 a.m.

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

Order of Business

1. Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Urban Forestry Council meeting was called to order at 8:40 a.m. Present:  Council Members Flanagan, Short, Hillan, Hillson, Kida, Leffingwell, Sullivan, Barrow, Ginsburg (8:50 a.m.); Excused:  Members Most, and Sherwin.

2. Adoption of Minutes of the March 28, 2014 Urban Forestry Council Meeting. (Explanatory Document:   March 28, 2014 Draft Minutes) (Discussion and Action)  Upon Motion by Member Hillson, second by Member Flanagan, the March 28, 2014 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (AYES:  Members Flanagan, Short, Hillan, Hillson, Kida, Leffingwell, and Sullivan; Absent:  Members Most and 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. 

Mr. Igor Lacan, introduced himself as the new Urban Forest Advisor for UC Cooperative Extension and offered to provide technical services and answer any questions that the Council may have.

4. Hearing on Nomination for Landmark Tree Status. The Council will hold a hearing to determine whether the tree nominated at the following location meets the criteria for designation as a landmark tree and may adopt a Resolution making a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors. (Discussion and Action)

Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum), located at 3066 Market Street, Assessor’s Block 2656, Lot 020, San Francisco, CA.  (Explanatory Documents: Nomination Form, Landmark Tree Committee Chair Written Summary, Committee and Staff Evaluation Forms, Tree Images, Arborist Report, Board of Supervisors Resolution, Urban Forestry Council Draft Resolution, Public Comment including Petition, Arborist Report, Tree History, Correspondence)

 

Landmark Tree Committee Chair Hillson read into the record the Landmark Tree Committee’s Findings Summary Report from the May 1, 2014 Committee meeting summarizing the Committee’s decision-making process for making a recommendation for landmark tree status of the Giant Sequoia at 3066 Market Street.  She reported that the Committee had voted 3-2 in favor of forwarding a recommendation approving landmark status to the Board of Supervisors.  Committee Members voting in favor and those opposed to landmark designation discussed evaluation criteria considered in making their decision.  Council members held a discussion.
       
Public Comment:

Mr. Gary Weiss, President, Corbett Heights Neighbors, speaking in support of landmark tree designation, provided a petition with 96 neighbors in support and an arborist report on the attributes of the tree.  He cited the tree’s dense canopy, good health, structure, aesthetics, historical significance, rarity, location, and wildlife habitat as reasons for approving landmark designation.

Mr. Alan Beach-Nelson, Castro Eureka Valley Neighborhood Association, representing 500 neighbors and business owners, spoke in support of landmark designation citing the tree’s rarity, cultural significance, neighborhood significance, environmental impact, health, and visibility.

Ms. Leslie Koelsch, Corbett Heights Neighbors, spoke in support of landmark designation, discussing the tree’s historical significance.

Mr. John Koelsch, Corbett Street resident, adjacent property owner, spoke in support of landmark designation, discussing the tree’s historical significance, physical and aesthetic attributes, wildlife habitat, rarity, environmental and cultural characteristics, and asset to the property.  He stated that landmark designation of this tree would be based on the attributes of the tree and not an abuse of the Landmark Tree Ordinance as a way to save a tree, citing a reference made by a Council Member opposing landmark designation.

Ms. Nancy Wuerfel spoke in support of landmark designation.  She stated that she is a member of PROSAC and is familiar with qualities people value in their open spaces.  She cited the tree’s large size, natural beauty, community support and appreciation as evidenced by the petition and personal testimony of two neighborhood associations, visual significance, and prominence as the criteria for meeting the requirements set forth in the Landmark Tree Ordinance.

Ms. Susan Cox spoke in support of saving the Sequoia tree.  She stated that the tree reduces carbon dioxide, intercepts stormwater, and is a thriving healthy magnificent 75 year old tree.  Ms. Cox spoke of her concern that green space is being lost with city urbanization. 

Mr. Ian Burke spoke in support of landmark designation.  He questioned the comparison made by a Council Member with park trees that he believes will always overshadow privately owned trees and would result in rarely qualifying any tree on public property for landmark status.  He cited the strong neighborhood support in favor of landmark tree status and spoke of his concern that the tree would be removed by the property owner. 

Mr. Mark Ryser spoke in support of landmark designation citing arborist reports indicating that the tree is uncommon, its physical attributes, historical significance, visibility, prominence, cultural significance, neighborhood appreciation, and asset to the neighborhood.   He cited the petition of 96 neighborhood supporters and stated that this tree meets the criteria necessary for landmark tree designation.

Chair Flanagan motioned to approve the Resolution recommending approval of landmark tree designation to the Board of Supervisors, second by Member Hillson (AYES:  Members Flanagan, Hillson, Kida and Swae;  Noes:  Members Short, Hillan, Leffingwell, and Sullivan; Absent:  Members Most and Sherwin).  The Motion was not approved for recommendation with a 4-4 vote.  The Council will be forwarding a “Without Recommendation” for landmark designation decision to the Board of Supervisors.

Item 6 was heard before Item 5.

5. Urban Forestry Council Endorsement of Urban Forest Master Plan.  (Explanatory Documents:  Summary of Key Changes Memo to Urban Forestry Council and Final Urban Forest Plan Phase 1 Street Trees http:///urbanforest/sfplanning.org and Draft and Final Resolutions) Sponsor and Speaker:  Member Swae (Discussion and Action)

Member Swae reported that a final Urban Forest Master Plan is now available and reported on key changes to the Final Plan.  He discussed work that had been accomplished working with the Urban Forestry Council, Department of Public Works, City agencies, the public, and organizations on finalizing the Plan.  Member Swae reported that there had been a public open house and public comment period, and that edits had been made to the Draft Plan based on feedback received.  He recommended endorsement of the Plan so it can move forward to the Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission for approval.
    
Public Comment:  Ms. Denise Louie, California Native Plant Society member, shared her experience and knowledge about trees and shrubs in San Francisco.  She stated that the only two trees that are native to San Francisco are the Coast Live Oak and California Buckeye that along with other native plants evolved here to withstand the heat of the dry seasons.  Ms. Louie suggested that the pampas grass in front of the Conservatory of Flowers be replaced with Toyan.   She suggested that the Urban Forest Plan should include and promote the use of more native plants.
 
Upon Motion by Member Hillan, second by Member Hillson, the Resolution endorsing the Urban Forest Plan was approved. (AYES:  Members Flanagan, Short, Hillan, Hillson, Kida, Leffingwell, Sullivan, and Swae; Absent:  Members Most and Sherwin).

6. Presidio Graduate School's City of San Francisco Urban Wood Re-Use Study Findings. The Council will hear a presentation on a study performed by Presidio Graduate School students on urban wood reuse. Sponsor: Member Swae (Explanatory Documents:  Presentation and San Francisco Urban Forest Wood Re-Use Study) (Informational Presentation and Discussion)

Member Swae reported that Presidio Graduate School students have been working with the Planning, Public Works, and Recreation and Park Departments on a recommendation made in the Urban Forest Plan to develop findings on how to manage trees throughout their life cycle. Presidio Graduate students Jonathan Dirrenberger, Cheryl Dorsey, Ryan Miller and Sonia O’Claire presented a “San Francisco Urban Forest Wood Re-Use Study” prepared for the San Francisco Planning Department.   A presentation was given introducing the Presidio team, reporting on project scope, methodology, case studies, current state of re-use, stakeholders, urban tree end of life wood products and value, process for urban tree wood re-use, gross and net system greenhouse gas emissions, best options, demand and financial value, recommendations, and barriers to implementation.  Council Members Ginsburg and Short provided input and held a discussion.

7. Election of Urban Forestry Council Chair and Vice Chair.  (Discussion and Action)

Upon Motion by Member Leffingwell, second by Member Hillson Member Flanagan was elected as Chair and Member Short was elected as Vice Chair (AYES: Members Flanagan, Short, Hillan, Hillson, Kida, Leffingwell, Sullivan and Swae; Absent: Members Most and Sherwin).

8. Review and Approval of Urban Forestry Council Letterhead.  (Explanatory Document:  Draft Letterhead) (Discussion and Action)

Council Members held a discussion about including Council seats and professional expertise on the letterhead.

Public Comment:  Ms. Nancy Wuerfel stated that the title of the Recreation and Park Department should be singular for “Park” instead of “Parks” as outlined in the City Charter and Commission Bylaws.   Member Ginsburg reported that the use of either the singular or plural version is correct.   Ms. Wuerfel stated that the body of the letterhead should be blank and not in memo format so as not to preclude other types of correspondence.  She suggested that black and white ink be used instead of color in order to conserve printer ink.

Upon Motion by Member Short, second by Member Leffingwell, the Urban Forestry Council letterhead was approved with amendments to add seat positions and member’s professional expertise as room allows on the letterhead.  (AYES:  Members Flanagan, Short, Hillan, Hillson, Kida, Leffingwell, Sullivan, and Swae; Absent: Members Most and Sherwin).

9. Review and Approval of the 2014 Recommended Street Tree List and Draft Resolution 2014-04-UFC Approving the List.  (Explanatory Documents:  Draft Resolution and 2014 Recommended Street Tree Lists) (Continued from the March 28, 2014 Meeting) (Discussion and Action)

Council Coordinator Hui presented two versions of the Recommended Street Tree List, a simple version and a version with descriptions.  Upon Motion by Chair Flanagan, second by Member Kida, the Resolution adopting the 2014 Recommended Street Tree Lists was approved with amendments to the Resolution and Street Tree Lists (AYES:  Members Flanagan, Short, Hillan, Hillson, Kida, Leffingwell, Sullivan, and Swae; Absent: Members Most and Sherwin).

Member Swae left the meeting at 10:20 A.M.

10. Committee Reports: (Informational Reports and Discussion)
Planning & Policy Committee. Chair’s Report. Planning Committee Chair Sullivan reported that the Committee has been working on presentations to the Council on Best Management Practices to educate the Council on urban forestry issues facing the City and ongoing significant City projects that have an impact on the urban forest. Council Members were asked to provide information on projects they would be interested in discussing at future meetings.

Funding Committee.  Chair’s Report.  Council Coordinator Mei Ling Hui reported that the Funding Committee is interested in sending a Council representative to upcoming Board of Supervisors budget meetings to advocate for forestry funding and to City departments that provide funding for the Urban Forestry Council.

Landmark Tree Ad Hoc Committee.  Chair’s Report.  Committee Chair Hillson reported that the Committee has been discussing landmark tree markers and penalties for violations. Coordinator Hui reported that two new landmark tree nominations had been received.

11. Staff Report. (Informational Report and Discussion)  There was no staff report issued at this time.

12. Chair’s Announcements: Chair, Urban Forestry Council (Information and Discussion) Council Members were asked to report back on their ability to attend a special Friday July 25, 2014 Council meeting in place of the August meeting.

13. Urban Forestry Council Member Announcements. (Information and Discussion)  Member Barrow announced his retirement from the City and County of San Francisco and membership from the Council, and that this would be his last Council meeting.

14. New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Information and Discussion)  There was no new business or future agenda items discussed at this time.

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.

Mr. Frank Mason reported that there had been two large trees planted at 1748 and 1740 Church Street, and that the tree at 1748 Church Street had been removed because it was too close to the intersection and should not have been planted there.   He spoke of his frustration with the cost involved in removing the curb ramp and replacing the concrete.  Mr. Mason spoke of his concern that the remaining tree at 1740 Church is leaning over the overhead wires for the J Church Muni line and may fall into the overhead wires, similar to what happened at Cesar Chavez and Church Streets that had disrupted service.  Mr. Mason suggested that the Urban Forest Plan should include projected costs that the Plan would incur over the next twenty years.

16. Adjournment.  The Urban Forestry Council meeting adjourned at 10:33 a.m.

The next meeting of the Urban Forestry Council is scheduled for Tuesday, June 24, 2014 at 6:00 p.m., Room 416, 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
http://www.sfenvironment.org/about/taskforce/urban-forestry-council/agendas as attachments with each agenda or meeting minutes. Meeting audios can be accessed at the following weblink https://sites.google.com/a/sfenvironment.org/commission/urban-forestry-council/urban-forestry-council-and-committee-meeting-audios.

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