tv Government Access Programming SFGTV August 3, 2018 5:00pm-6:01pm PDT
hill, people already living in nob find it extremely expensive to do so. so i think any additional units of housing in this neighborhood would be helpful. to the subject if it fits or conforms with the neighborhood, again, i live two blocks away. there are buildings that are five stories tall, three story does tall and some even taller than that. my building is four stories tall next to buildings that are eight stories tall and two stories tall. in addition, standing on the roof of my building, you can look across the entirety of nob hill and see other decks installed on rooftops of other buildings. i would summarize by saying i support this construction. i don't believe it's out of character with the neighborhood. if you look within a through-block radius of this -- three-block radius of this
unit, you'll see similar roof decks, taller buildings, and i think we need all the housing we can get. thank you. >> thank you. next speaker, please. >> good evening, board commissioners, board? board? board of appeals. my name is michael chen. i'm a resident in san francisco. i'm here to speak in favor of the project sponsors, todd mavis and kevin chang, and i'm also here on behalf of yimby action, a housing advocacy group in san francisco. as someone who's relatively new to san francisco and one thing who's younger, one thing i hear from myself and a lot of my friends, we have a lot of anxiety about our housing. i talk to a lot of people, and i feel like everybody here has a housing story. if you bought recently or you say oh, yeah, i got out bid by all cash deals, 90%, because i
had this great story and i was able to connect to the previous seller. i had people who say oh, yeah, i'm going to get an eviction, owner moving in, or new construction, and the owner might hike my rent up by 10%. i know about owners that talk about the sacrifices that they make. it's a one bedroom that they flux into a three bedroom so they can stay in san francisco, and even that might not be enough. san francisco is losing rent control units, they awe're los families. i know a lot of people that say hey, when they look at the math, it's not worth it. i think the project i requested a rehearing or to reinstate the site permit because this adds more chairs to our game. it means that you have more people who are able to live and love san francisco the way that i do, and the way that i hope that you all do, as well. it means that people can live
at 1033, 1037, 1039 washington street, whatever the new number is, and they can walk down the street to the dim sum lounge. it means they can access the library that's on the same block. it means that they can take the cable car to work and enjoy the great view that you see as you go over on california street. i think the housing is good. i think that adding more people to enjoy the city is a good. i think that this is being done in a way that is actually in line with the existing character of the neighborhood, even if it is technically noncompliant. and so for these reasons, i would request that you support the provincial -- project sponsor's request.
>> clerk: okay. this is not rebuttal because we actually had a full hearing. >> actualcommissioners? >> actually, i have a question for the project sponsor. understanding, this is just for the findings. in the brief, it mentioned that you had alternative drawings or ideas for that top level, but yet they were not provided in our brief. do you have something to present that you can put on the overhead or orally? >> todd mavis. at this time, we do not. it might be presumptuous to bring drawings to this particular hearing unless we get a little bit more of a sense to the board's reaction to our request that we adopt alternative findings or grant a
rehearing to be able to address the concerns of this board with respect to intensifying at none -- i'm sorry. i'm going to call it nonconforming. i can't remember the term you used. >> i'm sorry. you answered my question, thank you. >> we would be willing to work with the appellant, work with you, get guidance. >> okay. you answered my question. thank you. >> thank you. >> comments, commissioners? >> no, i'm prepared to suggest the findings as they are written with the change in verbiage as suggested by the -- by mr. sanchez.
>> so you're prepared to accept the findings prepared by the executive director? okay. >> on the other hand -- >> okay. >> -- i know that the variance hearing and the -- the second appeal are not connected in any way, but at which point, after reviewing the documents, again, i have had a change of heart, because although i do not believe it's affordable housing, that it will provide additional housing to our city as well as to the simple fact that the structural upgrades would add safety to that building and to the adjacent buildings, as well. i'm probably not in the majority, but i would offer a rehearing. >> any other comments? was your --
[inaudible] >> that's correct. commissioner swig, was yours a motion? i'm not sure i heard it. >> i'm prepared to make that motion. >> clerk: so you want to make a motion to adopt the findings -- >> the findings with the change in verbiage as suggested by mr. sanchez. >> clerk: okay. with the change in the verbiage suggested by scott sanchez. >> scott sanchez. >> clerk: all right. so on that motion by vise -- vice president swig -- [roll call] >> clerk: okay. so that motion passes, and the proposed findings are adopted. >> next case. >> clerk: we will now move onto item number seven.
this is appeal number 17-055, mahar mamarzadei versus san francisco department of urban forestry. [agenda item read] >> clerk: note on february 28, 2018, the board voted 5-0 to continue the appeal to allow time for the parties to discuss settlement. so we've had a hearing on this matter, and so each party will get three minutes each total, no rebuttal, and we will hear first from the appellant.
>> good evening. francisco gutierrez, attorney for the appellant. before cutting into the time, i would have a request. we do have three speakers, but the way we have postponed the hearing and continued it to this date was to meet and try to settle this matter with bureau of urban forestry. we did ultimately meet with chris buck on the 10th. which would like to smith pictures that include written analysis, as well, so i would ask the board for their permission to circulate copies of those documents because they are relevant to this hearing and it would be to prevent man test injustice against appellant as the discussion is relevant to the discussions with urban forestry, but also in support of his appeal. i have 11 copies of these documents here, and i ask request to circulate it.
>> well, i'm not going to -- you can submit it, but we're not going to have time to review it. >> so this is to avoid a rehearing. we met with bureau of urban forestry on april the 10. one of the main concerns expressed by the bureau. >> if you're going to talk to the issues of the case, then we're going to start your time, om? >> that's fine. we can start the time. >> if you have a potential settlement, then you can go ahead and present that. >> president fung, we don't. we don't have a settlement, we don't have a -- >> okay. why don't you go ahead and make your case. >> okay. speaking today will be myself, counsel for appellant, his arborist, and we also have an independent arborist. the issue we have is whether
the columbia species is the appropriate tree. there's a tree growth study that's prepared by mr. leggett, who in addition to be a certified arborist has a bachelor of science degree from california state university fresno in plant sciences, and what that study concludes is that tree should be categorized as a medium sized tree on the tree street list. >> good evening. i'm roy leggett, and the growth rate study is comparing the shoot extension lengths on the known varieties of platinous trees planted here in san francisco. i looked at the segments of growth on young trees, and it
is clear that those columbia trees are growing as a slower, more compat growth rate. they should be medium category trees which would be consistent with the bureau of urban forestry's request, and so we do have copies of the study with photographs that clearly show how those measurements interact with the overall growth rate. mr. crawford is here, as well, and can certainly speak to this particular issue. >> hello. nicholas crawford. i'm an arborist and also a counselor on the urban forestry council. i wanted to speak to this because i think this is an example of a great scenario where the bureau had to say these are the guidelines, but i
think planting a tree that has a smaller variety, the columbia versus other varieties would be appropriate for this space. looking at it, i think it -- the space would allow for these two trees, not just one. i think that especially because the property owner is willing to go to great lengths to care for this tree for his life and also put it into the deed for future owners, i think that makes a pretty compelling case to allow him to do what he's asking to do in plant two trees here. >> mr. crawford, what was the spacing between the two trees? >> 14 feet. >> in your opinion, that is acceptable for the root balls of these two tree snz. >> certainly for the root balls, but -- these two trees? >> certainly for the root balls, but the canopies, i think you could expect them to be intertwined during maturity,
but with pruning, you could maintain that successfully. >> clerk: okay. thank you. we will now hear from the department. >> good evening. chris buck with san francisco public works bureau of urban forestry and urban forester, and i should be able to stick within the three minutes. we tried to reach a settlement but were unsuccessful. the hearing was february 28, and the applicant was proactive to set a follow up meeting. we met on april 10. i was hoping the applicant would come to that meeting ready to discuss medium sized species, but it was clear from mr. crawford's report that they remained focused planting the
columbia variety. i reviewed the additional material and met with our superintendent, carla short, and conducted an internet search to show that this is categorized as a large stature tree at maturity. the documents that i provided to the applicant april 30 demonstrated this in each case. i do not do this to educate myself further on the issue because i am the professional that's most knowledgeable about tree spacing and this species in san francisco. both as the urban forester and as a previous education coordinator for friend of the urban forests. allowing one large stature tree to be planted within a narrow sidewalk setting that is additionally impacted by two
bay windows that extend above the sidewalk. the second point, allowing the planting of two medium sized trees at maturity to be planted just 14 feet apart measure down the center. tree spacing guidelines recommend 15 to 20 feet between small stature species, 20 to 25 for medium and 30 or medium for large stature species. third point, a willingness to consider many different species options that are medium sized trees at maturity. the fourth point, street light conflict. we can allow the planting of medium sized trees, but two platinous would mean that two trees are too close to the street light pole. the current basing is just 14 feet away. this is another argument for why two platinous or plain trees at this frontage is not
feasible. planting two columbia just 14 feet apart in this section of cortland avenue is something we want to avoid in the public right of away even with an offer like this from the property owner to maintain the trees. i will note that both the the valencia streetscape project, those are platinous columbia, they were planted eight years ago and doing quite well. additionally market street is going through a better market street plan, and one of the species proposed for replacement? columbia. why, because it's a really wide sidewalk. >> clerk: okay. thank you, mr. buck. >> mr. buck. >> stay there. >> okay. >> during your meeting, did you
bring up acceptable species that are small stature and medium stature? >> i did mention that -- >> specific ones, right? >> we had been discussing some specific ones earlier in the proceedings, you know, previous hearings prior, but i did state the obvious way was clearly, the team here has -- obvious way was clearly, we are not here to discuss the species other than columbia. i was a little disappointed because i think the commission here kind of did an unofficial straw poll, it was 2-2, with one absence, showing there was not a majority here to overturn this decision, so i was expecting a little more give in this process. >> okay. >> so mr. buck i can remember the last hearing because i had
asked several questions because they had showed the platinous trees on broadway or pacific that were actually spaced closer, and i remember asking how old those were. did you have pictures of the tree that you mentioned on market or other locations that you just mentioned? >> market and valencia, i don't have them with me. >> so, i mean, how long would it take for these trees -- and i understand that in the last hearing, we also brought up that there's no guarantee that this owner is going to be there in perpetuity, and that's largely some of the issue. but i believe at the last hearing, it was discussed that the trees on broadway are confide old, but they were close in proximity and they aren't towering. >> correct. there are two mature trees. there are a few examples that they provided on the face that certainly look compelling. one of them was at the top of pa isk is heights, so the wind -- pacific heights, so the wind is brutalizing them.
the other was a mistake of our inspector who allowed two platinous trees to be planted close together. there's going to be cases that slip through the cracks, but we don't want to knowingly perpetuate that problem. >> okay. thank you. >> okay. >> can i ask the permit holders a question? >> we still have public comment sk skbl. >> i'm sorry. if you want to go ahead -- >> okay. is there any public comment on this item? >> good evening, commissioners. my name is terry mills, and i'm a president of the bernal heights tree community. i was informed of the problems earlier this evening, and i
would like to speak in support of the proposal to replace two trees with two trees. our committee has been arranging and arguing of protecting the existing trees in bernal heights for 25 years. we've managed to save quite a few from the parks department and from the street department. not from the water department, but we've maintained the trees we've had for quite a few years. and in this case, cortland avenue several years ago had very few trees. problem trees, eucalyptus dropping on people and stuff, but we managed to persuade as a neighborhood some movement to get 25 trees planted on cortland several years ago. and not all of them have
survived for a few years, but we now have tree planting on cortland, our village street, and i would just like to submit that i would appreciate if this project could go ahead, get two new trees. thank you. >> thank you. mr. mills, are you still on the design review committee? >> you bet. >> okay sk. >> i've got a question for you, sir. so as the tree person in -- in this particular district, you don't have a concern that these trees are going to be at a higher growth -- they're canopy's going to be to -- >> i don't have the technical knowledge that i heard stated earlier as -- to answer your
question. we have some big trees, on cortland, that the city has to come out and trim once in a while so that they don't kill somebody. i don't see having a large crown as a problem from the tree committee standpoint. >> okay. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> clerk: thank you. is there any other public comment on this item? okay. seeing none, commissioners, the matter is submitted. >> i have another question for mr. buck. >> yeah. i'll follow up after you, sir. >> after you. >> no, no, no, go ahead. >> okay. mr. buck, since with you heard this originally, the legislation passed -- this is a street tree now that is to be maintained by d.u.f., isn't it? >> correct. the street trees are now the maintenance responsibility of public works. >> is there an issue with
public maintenance of this so that it does -- in terms of it being pruned and not overly grown? >> we are not supportive of the pruning plan, but if overturned, the way to do this is there is a mechanism within our code to allow property owners to assume responsibility in two ways. one, they could assume responsibility for a temporary pruning of a tree or a full legal opt out, where the property owner would assume the maintenance responsibility for the street tree adjacent to their property. trees, however, are still under our jurisdiction. so, you know, typically, that would be done for existing trees, so we're still be supportive of the proposal, but that -- there is a mechanism for that to take place. if the board wishes, it could overturn this and find in favor of the appellant and that they
assume responsibility for the m maintenance of the street trees. the challenge, of course, for us is long-term. we've said no to a lot of people over the years, and i do worry about that. and you know, you can always jam things into the sidewalk and just say oh, we'll see how it happens, but there is a mechanism that would allow them to -- to do that. even though we don't support it legally, it would be allowable. >> okay. thank you. commissioner swig? >> yes. just for clarification purposes, we're here because they're appealing your action to tear down two, put up one, right? and -- and i think we suggested last time that you all talk, and there -- and you were fairly flexible into tearing down two and putting in two with a caveat they are a smaller format trees. >> mm-hmm. >> in your opinion, or the fact
is that the appellant rejected that option summarily, without any conversation on the subject. >> two of that specific species, so correct, there's really no discussion. >> right, and a medium sized tree of that -- of a variation or a hybrid or whatever. i'm not a tree guy -- was -- was completely unacceptable to them in that discussion. >> correct. >> discussion in the sense that it was brought up. >> you could recommend it be a small stature. >> small or medium. >> so teven having the medium
stature's a give, and we're also willing to live with one very statuesque tree at that point. we're not comfortable with letting the public make the decision on this one. we're just not. >> mm-hmm. >> that answer your question, commissioner swig? >> yeah. so it's the hail mary on this one really is a question, now, we're in discussion, to the appellant, here's your last chance. you want two mediums or are you going to stand and we'll just hear the -- >> well, i think the other -- we have one additional option, that is they take full responsibility is what the -- >> yeah, and i'm -- you know -- >> actually, i have a question -- >> yeah. you've heard my long life story, which is it's a long life. that tree will be here longer than anybody here, and -- >> maybe. >> -- and i'm not prepared to
rely on the ultimate, ultimate owner, even if this owner -- >> okay. commissioner, you have a question? >> yeah. i have a question for the permit holder, so whoever wants to come forward. one question. are you willing to assume 100% responsibility in perpetuity for the trees, and two, you can answer them in any order you like. is there any option other than this specific tree? >> commissioner, one, so 100% liability is actually allowed within the code. section 805 of the san francisco public works code allows the bureau to enter into street maintenance agreements with the property owners. if i could have the projector, at our meeting with mr. buck, i submitted a draft of a street tree maintenance agreement that would be recorded against title. i had no response from the bureau whether or not they would accept this. they did not even -- >> okay.
and the second question? >> -- follow up. on the second question, it prespoe presupposes the tree was not appropriate. with respect, it was not a hail mary pass. the way they categorize the columbia tree is wrong. in relying on the scientific study by mr. leggett, supporting our argument, we wants to show that this tree is appropriate because it fits within what the bureau is telling us and is telling what this board is appropriate, which is a medium sized tree. >> okay. but the question i asked is are you willing to accept another tree other than that particular species? >> the answer is no. >> no. >> okay. thank you. >> okay, commissioners. who would like to start?
>> sure, i'll start. if they're willing to assume 100% responsibility, and it's a -- an n.s.r., so it's a special deed of restrictions, and it goes on title, i don't have a problem approving it. the trees that are there now are in poor shape. they're cobranching or co something. they're not very attractive. [please stand by]
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>> president kwon: good afternoon. thanks for waiting, folks. welcome to the san francisco public utilities commission meeting. today is tuesday, july 24. before we take the roll, let me just say one thing. we have a number of speakers here today. we have a lot of speaker cards. to give everyone time, we're going to hold strictly to the 3 minutes. when you hear the second chime, that's when your time is over to make time for the next person. so hold it to that time or you will force me to sing to you and that will get you off quickly. the roll, please? [roll call]