San Francisco

Supervisor Wiener Wants City To Reclaim Urban Forest

Back in December 2012, we reported on the city's controversial plan to turn over the maintenance of city-owned trees along sidewalks to property owners. 

The move was prompted by Department of Public Works budget constraints which left a crew of 10 workers responsible for managing 110,000 street trees and fielding 3,700 calls a year for urgent matters like broken branches and fallen trees.

Yesterday, Supervisor Scott Wiener announced in a press release that he is directing the city attorney to prepare a ballot measure for 2015 or 2016 to provide a long-term funding solution for maintaining and expanding the city's increasingly neglected urban forest. The move would require the city to reassume responsibility for the city's sidewalk-planted trees. 

Wiener will be working with Friends of the Urban Forest, a non-profit dedicated to urban forestry and green infrastructure, and other community groups and stakeholders to work out the details of what the ballot measure should include. The fund is estimated to cost $20-30 million and will likely include a parcel tax (hence the ballot measure). The existence of the fund will be on the condition that the city reassume full maintenance responsibility and legal liability for street trees as well as sidewalk damage caused by the trees.

We're hoping to take a deeper look at the issue, and would like to know how the transition of city-owned tree maintenance to property owners has affected readers, as well as your thoughts on Supervisor Wiener's plan to have the city take back that responsibility. 

Are you a property owner who has had to take on tree maintenance responsibilities? How have you been affected by this city policy? 

Send us your thoughts on the subject to tips [at] hoodline [dot] com. Or, as always, you can chime in in the comments section below. 

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