San Francisco Searches for a Suitable Guardian for its Trees

How to care for S.F.'s 110,000 street trees and 130,000 park trees was the subject of a hearing last week called by Supervisor Scott Wiener. The Department of Public Works is engaged in a controversial program to transfer care to property owners.

San Francisco's trees are in desperate need of some TLC. According to Joshua Sabatini, a "lack of funding has historically plagued the [city's] urban forest, resulting in sick trees, trees that topple and a thinner canopy compared to other cities." With a recent report by AECOM estimating the cost of maintaining the existing trees, and planting a modest 2,900 more per year, at between $22.6 million to $31.3 million annually, Supervisor Scott Wiener "is attempting to figure out how to reform The City's tree care system."

A plan to transfer maintenance duties to individual property owners, "is drawing complaints from property owners and city officials," says Sabatini. "'By any measure, this is not the right way to take care of our street trees and results in wildly inconsistent maintenance,' said Wiener, who has supported The City taking back care of all the street trees."

The AECOM study identified three other options to ensure consistent funds for maintenance: a special assessment district, a parcel tax or a general obligation bond.

Full Story: Supervisor Scott Wiener seeks better care for urban forest in The City


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