October 22 2013 Urban Forestry Council Meeting Approved Minutes

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

APPROVED MINUTES
Tuesday, October 22, 2013, 6:00 p.m.

City Hall, Room 416
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)

     Public comment will be taken before the Council takes action on any item.

Order of Business

1. Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Urban Forestry Council meeting convened at 6:03 p.m.  Present:  Council Members Flanagan, Costello, Hillson, Leffingwell, Short, Sullivan and Swae; Excused:  Council Members Barrow, Hillan, Kida, Most and Sherwin; Absent:  Members Ginsburg/Alvarez.

2. Adoption of Minutes of the September 27, 2013 Urban Forestry Council Meeting. (Explanatory Document:  September 27, 2013 Draft Minutes) (Discussion and Action)  Upon Motion by Member Hillson, second by Member Flanagan, the September 27, 2013 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (AYES:  Members Flanagan, Costello, Hillson, Leffingwell, Short, Sullivan and Swae; Absent:  Members Hillan, Kida, 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. Frank Mason asked that Council Members speak loudly and directly into the microphone for better audience comprehension.


4. Geary Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).  (Explanatory Document:  Geary Bus Rapid Transit Project Update Presentation) Speaker: Chester Fung - Principal Transportation Planner at San Francisco County Transportation Authority.  Mr. Fung will provide the Council with a presentation on the Geary BRT plan, including landscaping and forestry portions of the plan.  (Informational Presentation and Discussion)

Mr. Chester Fung presented an update on the Geary Bus Rapid Transit project reporting on project background, current status, alternatives, tree analysis and next steps (reference Geary Bus Rapid Transit Project Update presentation).  Council Members discussed proposed alternatives and design, bus travel time, tree impacts, statistics, tree planting and maintenance budget, and tree replacement and selection.   Member Short stated for the record that Department of Public Works (DPW) prefers Alternative 2 because it has less impact to trees that DPW has planted in the center median.  A request was made for Mr. Fung to provide an informational report to the Council about the process for selecting the locally preferred alternative and how each alternative impacts the tree canopy on the corridor.

Public Comment: 

Mr. Frank Mason pointed out that Muni had not responded to the Urban Forestry Council’s Annual Report Survey.  He stated that a report would be published by the Mayor’s Office Transportation Task Force on MUNI’s six billion dollar backlog for infrastructure and potential sources of funding.  Mr. Mason discussed the competition for federal and local funding and how funding may not be available for the project.  He spoke in support of the Council’s inquiries about proposed tree maintenance.  Mr. Mason stated that the Geary BRT is going to be light-rail ready with overhead lines unless new technology has electrical power sourced from the ground as opposed to overhead wires. 

Ms. Rupa Bose, speaking on behalf of the San Francisco Forest Alliance, discussed the substantial tree removal that is involved for most projects in San Francisco.  She stated that this project involves removing about 10 to 20 percent of the trees while others have looked at removing up to 50% of trees.  Ms. Bose stated that there is always tree planting in principle in these projects, but that kind of detail is not made available or is a requirement for the project.   She stated that the Urban Forestry Council is the perfect body to advocate that this type of information be provided for street trees and park trees in natural and other areas.

5. Review and Approval of Draft Resolution File 2013-12-UFC to amend Urban Forestry Council Bylaws “Article VIII – Committees, Section 4” to change the meeting time of the Urban Forestry Council Planning and Policy Committee. (Explanatory Documents:  Draft Resolution and Hearing Notice)  Sponsor:  Chair Dan Flanagan; Speaker:  Council Coordinator Mei Ling Hui (Discussion and Action)

Council Coordinator Hui and Commission Secretary Fish reported that the proposal is to amend the Council’s Bylaws to change the meeting time of the Planning and Policy Committee from 5:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Upon Motion by Member Sullivan, second by Member Swae, the Resolution was approved (AYES:  Members Flanagan, Costello, Hillson, Leffingwell, Short, Sullivan and Swae; Absent:  Members Hillan, Kida, Most and Sherwin).

6. Review and Approval of Draft Resolution File 2013-13-UFC to amend Environment Code Chapter 12 Urban Forestry Council Membership Requirements.  (Explanatory Documents:  Approved Resolution 013-13-UFC and Environment Code Chapter 12) Sponsor:  Chair Flanagan; Speaker:  Council Coordinator Hui (Discussion and Action)

Council Coordinator Hui reported that the proposal is to request that the Board of Supervisors amend Environment Code Chapter 12 so that all members become voting members, to expand the scope of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) seat to both GGNRA or Presidio Trust, and to address the Redevelopment Agency member seat due to limited staff at the agency.   Member Hillson suggested amendments to page 1 line 10 to change “seat” to “seats” and line 13 from “do not” to “are not.”  Chair Flanagan suggested that this agenda item be forwarded to the Planning and Policy Committee to create a proposal for the Redevelopment Agency seat.  This agenda item was “Continued to the Call of the Chair.” 

Public Comment: 

Ms. Dee Seligman expressed her concern that the Public Utilities Commission and particularly the Recreation and Park Department should be granted voting status. She discussed Chapter 12 requirements that indicate that the Council has the responsibility of the Urban Forest Plan in consultation with effected city agencies, interested members of the public, and that it has the responsibility to deal with both public and private trees in the city, which to her understanding means both street trees in the city and in parks. 

Ms. Rupa Bose, speaking as a member of the public, expressed her concern for granting voting rights to the Recreation and Park Department because of the number of trees they cut down and their plans to cut down 18,400 trees in the Natural Areas Program.  She stated that she believes the Recreation and Park Department is opposed to non-native trees and is pushing for native areas that are planted with scrub and shrubs.

7. Presentation on the Draft Urban Forest Master Plan.  Sponsor and Speaker:  Member Jon Swae (Informational Presentation and Discussion)

Member Jon Swae reported on the status of current planning, release of the Urban Forest Master Plan, and comments received.  He reported that an internal draft was released in October to those who would be affected by recommendations in the plan that include City agencies, the Urban Forestry Council, and Friends of the Urban Forest.  Comments received in the middle of October are currently being reviewed.  The goal is to incorporate comments in the next month, release a draft of the plan for public review in December, hold a public open house in January, and then in January/February hold hearings at the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors.  Member Swae would highlight areas in the Plan that pertains to the Urban Forestry Council.  Members would be asked to provide their comments that would be reviewed at the December Planning and Policy Committee meeting.    

8. Report on Planning and Policy and Funding Committees’ Discussions on Urban Forestry Council Strategic Plan Work Plan Goals. (Explanatory Documents:  Urban Forestry Council Strategic Plan, Planning and Policy Committee Work Plan Schedule, October 1 and 8, 2013 Committee Draft Minutes):  Members Andrew Sullivan and Carla Short (Informational Report and Discussion)

Member Sullivan reported on Planning and Policy Committee meeting discussions on the Strategic Plan two-year work plan schedule and outline of an approach to specific goals 2A “to assist in completion and passage of a new Urban Forest Master Plan,” 2B “to develop a “roundtable” process for policy review on critical issues,” and 2C “to play an active role in reviewing all major projects.” 
Member Hillson requested corrections to Strategic Plan page 4 to correct the time of the Landmark Tree Ad Hoc Committee meeting to “4:15 p.m.” instead of “4:00 p.m.” and at the top of the page, line 4, to change “Policy Committee” to “Planning and Policy Committee”. 

Member Short reported on Funding Committee meeting discussions on the Strategic Plan two-year work plan as it relates to becoming a clearing house for City departments for funding efforts, to try to ensure that City departments are working collaboratively together on funding and grant opportunities, influencing Departments to support broader funding initiatives and the Council itself, and how the Council can support acquiring funding for urban forestry programs. 

Council Members were asked to provide comments on the two-year work plan and metrics for measuring success of meeting goals so the Committees can present to the Council a two-year work plan to be adopted at the December 13 Council meeting. 

Public Comment:

Ms. Dee Seligman expressed her concern with transparency in government.  She asked that when developing committees and work groups, that at all times those meetings are announced, documented, transparent, and that minutes be taken.  Ms. Seligman asked that there be no discussion outside of meetings, and if there is a controversial issue, that significant groups in the city on both sides of the issue be encouraged and invited to attend.  She clarified that Mount Sutro is owned by both UCSF and the Recreation and Park Department for the Natural Areas Program.  

Ms. Rupa Bose, speaking as an individual, discussed the Council’s Strategic Plan and overarching theme #2  “that the urban forest is not just trees, it includes a wide array of greening.”   She stated that a lot of shrubs and bushes are habitat and impact the environment in other ways.  Her concern is that it shouldn’t become a substitute for trees because under the Natural Areas Program, there seems to be an interest in cutting down trees and substituting native plants, shrubs, and grassland, which does not have the same habitat value and environmental benefits as trees.  She doesn’t want the Council to become about grass and shrubs.  Speaking on behalf of the San Francisco Forest Alliance and Save Sutro Cloud Forest, Ms. Bose thanked the Council for taking part in discussions about Mount Davidson and Mount Sutro and hopes that these groups will be invited to take part in future discussions. 

9. 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.

10. Staff Report.  There was no additional staff report made at this time.

11. New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Information and Discussion)  All new business and future agenda items were discussed during the course of the meeting.

12. 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.

13. Adjournment.  The Urban Forestry Council meeting adjourned at 7:50 p.m.

The next meeting of the Urban Forestry Council is scheduled for Friday, December 13, 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, 1455 Market Street, Suite 1200, San Francisco, California 94103 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] 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.
 

Respectfully submitted by Monica Fish, Council Secretary
 

Approved: December 13, 2013