As reported in the Dec/Jan 2012-13, Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association (DTNA) Newsletter, decreases in funding over the years have restricted the Department of Public Work’s (DPW) ability to sustain urban forestry and staffing.
The current budget includes a tree crew of just 10 individuals who are responsible for over 110,000 trees that line our city streets, including responding to over 3,700 calls a year for urgent matters like fallen trees and broken branches.
As a result, DPW is in the process of transferring the maintenance responsibility for approximately 40% of these trees to individual fronting property owners over the next seven-year period.
Phase One of this seven-year plan involves the immediate transfer of approximately 3,400 trees. Ironically these trees transitioning into Phase One are considered to be the healthiest, recently pruned or established.
According to DPW, the trees, and related sidewalks, will be turned over after being inspected and repaired. Ownership of the trees will remain with the City, and fronting property owners will need to obtain a permit from DPW to remove a tree.
In parallel, a joint effort involving the City and Friends of the Urban Forest is developing an Urban Forest Plan that will include an alternative solution. This solution could involve a special tax, bond, or ballot proposition. The goal is to have an agreed upon solution developed and implemented in the next two to three years. That would cancel out DPW's seven-year plan.
For more in depth information on the tree transfer can be found at www.sfdpw.org.